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Thursday, February 24, 2005

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Jeremiah 17:5-10
Psalm 1
Luke 16:19-31

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a witness from hell

"Send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water to refresh my tongue." —Luke 16:24

It's interesting that the rich man identified Lazarus by name from his place in hell (Lk 16:24). Thus, Lazarus was no stranger to him. In addition, the rich man requested that Lazarus bring him some refreshment (Lk 16:24). This indicates that the rich man could have been in the habit of sending Lazarus to fetch various creature comforts for him. Old habits die hard, for when he couldn't get personal comfort from Lazarus, he requested that Lazarus bring a message to his brothers on earth, who were presumably as callous to human suffering as he himself was (Lk 16:27ff). To the rich man, Lazarus ranked even lower than a servant boy. At least a servant boy would rate a bed and a meal in a first-century household. In his eyes, Lazarus didn't even rate his leftovers (Lk 16:21). Undoubtedly, the rich man would have been shocked on Judgment Day to hear that as often as he neglected to feed and shelter Lazarus, he neglected to do it to Jesus (Mt 25:45).

Who is the Lazarus in our lives? Who, in our estimation, exists for the purpose of serving us, but doesn't deserve any credit or reward for refreshing us? (Because, after all, it's their duty.) Is it the employees who work for us? The janitor at work? Our spouse? Our children? Our aging relatives? Our pastor?

Repent of not esteeming every single human being (1 Pt 2:17). Imitate Jesus, Who came not to be served, but to serve (Mt 20:28).

Prayer:  Father, send me to lovingly refresh the Lazaruses in my life (cf Lk 16:24).

Promise:  "Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose Hope is the Lord." —Jer 17:7

Praise:  When tempted to self-pity, John felt prompted by the Lord to list ten blessings he treasured. Some of those who had caused him the most pain were at the top of the list.

Reference:  (This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Giles H. Pater, August 18 8, 2004

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, August 23, 2004