(Picture is from http://www.artway.eu)
I watched Steve Harvey and actress/comedienne Mo’Nique on his talk show a few days ago debate about what was more important: integrity or money. Mo’Nique thought integrity was more important and would speak out against inequalities no matter what the repercussions would be. Steve felt that money was what’s most important and that “…the best thing you can do for a poor person is not be one of them.” This was one of the best interviews I’ve ever seen on television. Their candidness and honesty was telling which brought me to the infamous story Jesus told about the rich man and Lazarus in Luke 16:19-31.
Jesus is all too familiar with humanity’s love of money and greed. He knows that excessive wealth may cause selfishness and a complete disregard for those that are poor. So Jesus gave us all a cautionary lesson for those that desire wealth with no regard to the poor. Luke 16:19-31 tells of a wealthy man who had no empathy for Lazarus, a poor man who begged at the rich man’s gate. The wealthy man lived in luxury every day but when he died the tables were turned. The rich man went to hell and was tormented. Lazarus went to Abraham’s bosom’s and was comforted. The rich man even begged for a drink because “he was in agony in this fire.” He was denied and told that he received good things in life while Lazarus received bad things. There was also a great chasm between them so no one could switch sides. He had to stay there in torment and live with the bad choices he made on earth. The rich man asked if Lazarus could warn his brothers but Abraham said they had the Law of Moses and the Prophets they could listen to. When the rich man said if someone from the dead went to them they would repent but Abraham said if they wouldn’t listen to Moses and the Prophets they wouldn’t even be convinced if someone from the dead went to them.
I believe the story of the rich man and Lazarus is not a parable but a true account of real people. It’s a story that tells of what happens when you don’t love God with all your heart and you don’t love others as yourself. I’m not putting Steve Harvey in the same category as the rich man in the book of Luke because I don’t know him personally. I can’t judge someone based on one interview. He is very generous on his talk show and overall he seems like a pretty decent person. We all have flaws. If we didn’t we wouldn’t need God. However, the best thing we can do for a poor person is to help them. After all, Jesus said “it is harder for a camel to go through an eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” (Matthew 19:24) So many are striving to be rich on earth not realizing without Christ they will find themselves without Him in hell. The best life is measured by our standing with God, not amounts in our bank accounts. Only then can we have a rich life in Heaven with Him.