“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.”
— Luke 16:26
Jesus taught his followers many things about the kingdom of God. Care for the poor was high on his agenda, as we see in his parable about the rich man and Lazarus. Lazarus, a poor man, was covered with sores and was hungry. He lay outside the gate of a wealthy man who lived in luxury. But he was ignored, and his needs went unmet.
When the poor man died, he was taken to rest with Abraham, where he finally was comforted. And when the rich man died, he was consigned to Hades, where he was in torment. He pleaded for relief and begged for a warning to be sent to his brothers. Abraham explained that there was an impassable gap between them, and that the man’s brothers already had all the instructions they needed.
The gap is the result of ignoring God’s teachings about neighbor love and justice for the poor. These teachings are plentiful in the Bible, reminding us that God loves the poor, demands justice for them, and “upholds the cause of the needy” (Psalm 140:12).
Today about 780 million people live in poverty and suffer from hunger, disease, and vulnerability. The reasons are often complex, but the reality is simple: there is great need. God’s Word still reminds us of his special care for the poor. And we have the example of Jesus to follow as we love our neighbors.
God, help us to care about the needs of the poor, as you do. Guide to show your love in Jesus’ name. Amen.