Jeremiah 17: 5-10
Psalm 1: 1-2, 3, 4, & 6
It’s amazing the difference two perspectives can have on scripture readings. Sometimes I try to imagine how the characters of the Gospel would interpret the readings for the day, and in today’s Gospel, we have two very distinct perspectives in the rich man and Lazarus.
The rich man would probably find it hard to see any meaning in the readings from Jeremiah and the Psalm today. I mean, he trusted human beings and sought his strength in the flesh and everything worked out for him. Why would he need to trust or hope in the Lord? He already had everything he would need or hope for and could trust himself just fine as far as he could see.
But Lazarus was a completely different story. He was poor, lonely, broken and had nothing else to hope for but the Lord. Maybe he trusted in human beings and sought strength in the flesh in his past, and that was what landed him in the condition he was in – unwanted and neglected by man.
When he read Jeremiah and the Psalms, what he heard gladdened his soul. He found it easy to hope in the Lord because he wanted the happiness – the better life that is promised him. And boy, did he get it!
Imagine the hindsight of these two men after death. Lazarus was finally relieved of his suffering and given comfort and everlasting happiness in heaven, while the rich man was filled with regret for trusting in his own strength because he now suffers unimaginable torment in hell.
So, what does this mean for us? Well, our goal on earth is to get to heaven, so we need to be more like Lazarus. Maybe not necessarily physically with dogs licking our sores as we lay in the street, but on the interior, with Lazarus’s trust and hope in the Lord.
No matter our state in life, we need to view our lives more like Lazarus did, as nothing without God. Because even if we have everything the world can give us, we are still nothing, and the more we come to recognize our nothingness, the greater we will see the need to depend totally on God for everything.
“God wants to show His greatness by using nothingness.” – Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta
Stephanie Shipley is a first-year FOCUS missionary at the University of Kentucky. She enjoys sports, paint-by-number, and this Kentucky snow (being a Georgia girl)!