A young man called out to Jesus from the crowd and said, “Teacher, command the trustee of my father’s will to give me my share of the inheritance!” Jesus replied, “I am not a lawyer or a judge—why should I get involved?” Then Jesus told everyone, “Guard yourself from every form of trying to get more in the world. When you finally get everything you want and more, then you finally realize too late that stuff is not what life is about.”
“There was an entrepreneur who ran his own business. One year, he did exceptionally well, and found that his business had outgrown his little store. So he was contemplating what he would do with his surplus profit, so, talking to himself, he said, ‘I know! I will rent a larger store, hire a couple of employees and the business will practically run itself! Then, over a few years I will have a tidy nest egg stored up and I’ll say to myself, “You have found the good life. Now it’s time to relax, and enjoy your retirement.”’ In that instant, however, God’s voice spoke to the man, ‘You are such an idiot. This very night your life is to be taken from you. So who will enjoy what you are planning?’ This is what happens to a person who works for himself and his family, but who never gives to God by giving to the poor.”
“Don’t be afraid to surrender your possessions, my dear students. You Father has happily determined that you are to have the whole kingdom of God—what do you need of useless trinkets? Go ahead and sell your stuff and give freely to those in need. Then you will have a savings that you can never use up, and is much safer than a bank, a mattress or your penny-pinching aunt. God will preserve it for you. But take this proposal seriously, and don’t blow it off—because what you use your money on is what you are devoting yourself to.
“There was a rich man who dressed in bright colors and fine cotton, living with his excellent entertainments daily. There was also a disabled poor man named Lazarus who begged outside his property daily, who was obviously sick. Lazarus dreamed about lying under the wealthy man’s table just to eat what fell on the floor, but all he got were kids coming by, yelling at him and throwing things at him. The poor man finally died, and angels carried him to Abraham in heaven. And the wealthy man also died and was given a proper burial, but ended up in hell where he was in agony. The wealthy man looked up and saw Abraham and Lazarus in heaven from a long distance off and he called out, “Father Abraham! Father Abraham! I am a religious man, so please do me a favor and ask Lazarus to come over to give me just the smallest amount of pain reliever because I am in terrible agony.” Abraham replied, “My son, do you remember in the time of your life? You had all the good, and Lazarus had all the evil in the world. Now in this life there is finally justice so Lazarus is comforted and you are in agony. Besides, the distance between us is so great that no one can go from one side to the other.” The rich man yelled out again, “Then could you please send Lazarus to my family? I have five brothers and I don’t want them to suffer here with me.” Abraham replied curtly, “Let them listen to the Bible.” The man said, “But they don’t, Father Abraham! But if someone comes to them from the dead to sternly warn them about giving to the poor, they will listen.” Abraham replied, “If those Scrooges won’t listen to the Scriptures, then they won’t listen to a ghost.”
Luke 12:13-21, 33-34; Luke 16:19-31