Sunday, September 30, 2007

The Parable of the Rich Man and the Poor Man

I went to church today morning at 7 am. Yes, I manage to get up early even on weekends thanks to a childhood habit.

Now generally the sermons at church get pretty boring. So I usually tend to think about something else. But today's sermon was a bit interesting. It was about the parable of the Rich Man and the Poor Man Lazarus taken from the Bible.

Now it states there was a rich man who had lots of wealth, money, servants, etc. You name it he had it. And just outside the gate of his mansion there was a poor man who was very sick. He had wounds all over his body and the dogs licked his wounds. His name was Lazarus. Now one day both of these dudes died. The rich man found himself in hell getting tortured in fire while Lazarus was enjoying his stay in Heaven. So the rich man calls out to Abraham to tell Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in cold water and place it on his tongue as he was dying from heat. But Abraham says that there is a great divide between the two places and a person cannot go from one to another. So the rich dude begs that at least he send Lazarus to his house where he has 5 brothers so that he can warn them and they too don't land in hell like the rich man did. But Abraham refuses saying if they did not listen to wise people like Moses, how will they listen to someone who is dead.

So this is basically how the parable of the Rich Man and the Poor Man is stated in the Bible.

Fine, I said. This is how the parable has been mentioned in many sermons. Well, what made today's sermon interesting was the point put forth by the priest that there is no mention in the Bible that the rich man was a sinner or that he was the cause of Lazarus' misfortune. Neither did Lazarus ever ask him for help. But he went to hell. Also it's not mentioned that Lazarus was a good man or a saintly man. Still he managed to go to heaven. Why?

So the moral of the parable was that it is not just enough to not do bad deeds. We should also try and help people who are in trouble. The rich man did not do bad deeds but failed to use his blessings to help Lazarus. So by doing nothing of his talents he went to hell.

Why did Lazarus go to heaven? Well, it seems that the name Lazarus signifies "trusting in God's help" in Hebrew. So Lazarus had faith in God even when he was suffering. That is why he managed to reach heaven.

So this sermon interested me as it was different from the usual historical stuff. It related to our present lives and not just something to be heard of as a part of history. That is what separates good sermons from the average, when it shows how the sayings of the Bible relate to our present day lives and how we can use that wisdom to seek meaning in our present lives. That is the essence of what a sermon is supposed to be.

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  1. Nice story :) Even many times whenever we see poor ppl we just feel bad about them & sometimes blame god why did he make such difference while creating the universe, i am also not different from others but feel that instead of blaming god nd wasting time we can try to to turn that injustice to justice by helping them.

  2. Thanks for the post, Suvarna.

    But how many of those people really deserve help. Many of the children who beg are forced to do that. Most of the beggars just don't want to work, they are happy earning easy money.

    Instead, I think it would be better to provide help to NGOs and organisations like CRY who actually help poor children in many ways like education, food, clothing, etc.

  3. Completely agree to u about it :)