Consequences

Luke 16:19-31

19 “There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. 20 And at his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, 21 who longed to satisfy his hunger with what fell from the rich man’s table; even the dogs would come and lick his sores. 22 The poor man died and was carried away by the angels to be with Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried. 23 In Hades, where he was being tormented, he looked up and saw Abraham far away with Lazarus by his side. 24 He called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am in agony in these flames.’ 25 But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that during your lifetime you received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner evil things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in agony. 26 Besides all this, between you and us a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who might want to pass from here to you cannot do so, and no one can cross from there to us.’ 27 He said, ‘Then, father, I beg you to send him to my father’s house— 28 for I have five brothers—that he may warn them, so that they will not also come into this place of torment.’ 29 Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; they should listen to them.’ 30 He said, ‘No, father Abraham; but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ 31 He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.'”  NRSV

We tend to evaluate life from within the moment we are living in. God is more concerned about our whole body of work over a lifetime. A lifetime could mean an individual’s life or, as in the case of the divided monarchy, the life span of a kingdom or a nati0n.

The scales God uses to evaluate a lifetime are the scales of God’s justice. The scales of justice weigh our actions of love, compassion, mercy, generosity, and our heartfelt devotion to making the lives around us better, over against our self-centeredness, selfishness, spitefulness, and how we diminished, demeaned, and dismissed the people and their needs around us over a lifetime. God’s forgiveness is given to the sincerely repentant as a kind of course correction, giving us the opportunity to tip the scales in the direction of justice as we live our lives. The really cool thing is that a truly repentant heart will always see God put God’s “finger” on the scale in the favor of our new commitment to justice.

The story of Lazarus reminds us, once more, that the choices we make have consequences…eternal ones.

Be a blessing to someone today!

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