Are People Like Elon Musk A Modern Example of The Rich Man in Lazarus?

Are People Like Elon Musk A Modern Example of The Rich Man in Lazarus?

Let us look at Luke 16:19-31: “There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. At his gate laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores”.

“The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. In Hades, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. So he called to him, “Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue because I am in agony in this fire”.

But Abraham replied, “Son, remember that in your lifetime you received good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. And besides all this, between us and you, a great chasm has been set in place so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us”.

He answered, “Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my family, for I have 5 brothers. Let him warn them so that they will also not come to this place of torment”.

Abraham replied, “They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them”.

“No, father Abraham, said the rich man, if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent”.

Abraham replied, “If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not even be convinced if someone rises from the dead”. (Obviously, this is a reference to Christ himself).

This story warns against the pride and the uncaring attitude of a very rich man. This rich man in the lap of luxury doesn’t have a care in the world and certainly, has no thought for Lazarus. Lazarus, a homeless, poor beggar, dreamt of eating the crumbs from this uber-rich man. Obviously, Lazarus knew that the man had more worldly wealth than he could ever dream of. Lazarus knew he could never emulate the rich man in this material world. However, he decided to make the outside premises of the rich man his home. It’s clear from the biblical text he ignored Lazarus and offered him nothing but scorn and indifference.

Lazarus’ sickness and poverty put him at the very bottom of human society, and yet the dogs that were also stray and rejected, tended his wounds when they licked him. Dogs accepted Lazarus into their world, as judging someone or hating/being indifferent to someone is totally alien to them. It seems then that some humans have much to learn from dogs in loving and accepting someone!

Dogs and some pets, for that matter, seem close to God because, like them, He loves us regardless. You may recall in a blog some time ago, I wrote about the sad death of my dog Mr.C. He accepted me for who I am and I still miss him. Now, I have a rescue dog and yes, the training is grueling. As yet he cannot be left on his own for long periods. In the end, all the training with my off dog Freddie will pay off, and I will have the total love, respect, and companionship that I had with my first dog.

Returning to the biblical story of Lazarus, we see later that Lazarus is taken up to heaven to be with Abraham, whereas when the rich man dies he is in hell or hades, in fire and torment. When he sees Lazarus in heaven he begs Abraham to send Lazarus to bring him some relief. Abraham rebukes him telling him that he had riches and material wealth when he was alive, and Lazarus had a life of homelessness and nothing to call his own. So for Lazarus and the rich man, their lives in the hereafter have been turned upside down. It is a complete role reversal for both men from the life they led formerly. But let us recognise that Lazarus isn’t in paradise with God for being homeless. It must have been his faith, humility, and hope in God that brought Him close to God. This is obviously in stark contrast to the rich man who was clearly indifferent to Lazarus’ plight as a homeless person, and a physically ill one at that.

So was this story true? Well, on this side of the grave we may never know, but the fact remains that Christ told the story to illustrate the lives of two very different men. There would have been stark contrasts in those days between the haves and have-nots. Even today there is still the super-rich like Elon Musk, Richard Branson, Jeff Bezos, etc. These billionaires are living a life materially that most of us can only dream of. Then there are the poor still trying to scratch a living just as they did back then. This is indeed a very troubling and immoral state of affairs in the so-called modern world.

If humanity was at peace, then all the billions we spend on weapons and armaments could be spent for the betterment of mankind? Some would say what a better world it would be and in some sense that is true. But without God, in the picture, our world would continue to be a troubled abode. We read page after page of scripture about the poor, the oppressed, the rejected, and how we should love and care for them. Of course, the materially well-off should help alleviate the suffering of such people, but the responsibility to love our neighbour is upon all of our shoulders. Of course, richness in God’s view is very different from the human interpretation of the word. With God, the contrast couldn’t be more different because it is about the richness of spirit.

If God has blessed you with wealth, he expects you to use that wealth for the less fortunate. If you are poor, God expects you to trust Him and give what you can or even some of your time. The rewards for those who love God and demonstrate his kindness to others, will be blessings in this life and certainly in the next life too.

God bless you x



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