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Topic: Poor (10/25/04)
TITLE: Rich Man, Poor Man
By Roberta Kittrell
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Lazarus, had once been a very bright young stone craftsman, who earned his living doing ornamental stone cutting. At what turned out to be the height of his career, he couldn’t have been happier. He had been chosen to do the decorative stonework on the new temple to which he and his countrymen would be able to go and worship the Lord God Jehovah. Lazarus worked every day, except for the Sabbath. On the Sabbath, one would find him in the synagogue, praying to God and listening to the Scriptures as the priest read the scrolls and expounded on them.
Then it happened! It had been so quick! One of the apprentices had left an awl right in the path of Lazarus’ foot. When Lazarus had taken a step backward to better see the intricate work he had just finished, he lost his balance and fell from the narrow ledge.
That was the end of Lazarus the stonecutter. The fall had not killed him; just his career. Before many years had passed by, he became known as Lazarus the beggar. There were four true friends—ones who remained loyal to Lazarus after his fall from fame—who would carry him each day to his place at the gate of the home of Eleazar.
There Lazarus would lay, hoping to be able to beat the dogs to some of the scraps from the table of Eleazar. As the sun beat relentlessly down upon them, possibly sensing his need, a dog or two would come over and lick his sores. Most of the time, Lazarus would pass the time praying to God and thinking on the Scriptures. No one else paid him any mind.
The center of attention was Eleazar. As was the custom among the very affluent, his home had many large windows. These served two purposes, maybe three. The large windows would provide access to any breezes that were blown that way. They also provided a quick way to get rid of meat bones and scraps from bread that had been used to sop up the juices. But, most importantly, it provided a way for all to see the luxurious, corpulent life style of Eleazar.
Almost simultaneously, both Lazarus and Eleazar died. No one took much notice of Lazarus’ death. Actually, most were surprised that he had lived so long after the accident. His place at the gate was quickly taken by another beggar.
But Eleazar—why did he die so suddenly? He had had everything. He had always dressed in robes of purple, drank the best wines, and eaten the richest foods. There had been nothing denied him. His funeral procession had been the talk of the town for several weeks; everyone said he had had the most talented hired mourners.
When Lazarus died, he went immediately to Abraham’s Bosom or Paradise. He was well received by other God-lovers who had preceded him.
And Eleazar—he went straight to Hades. One could imagine his surprise to be there, but a place in Paradise was the one thing he hadn’t been able to buy. But it was a far greater surprise when he looked up across the great chasm and saw Lazarus in such prestigious company. When he asked Abraham to let Lazarus come and bring him water to assuage his suffering, he learned that it was too late. There would be no spanning the chasm.
But it didn’t end there. One day the Lamb of God came down to Sheol and took Paradise and its inhabitants out of there, and left only those who were awaiting judgment and the Lake of Fire. Now, tell me, who was the rich man; who was the poor?
### -- Roberta J. Kittrell -- 10/31/2004 -- copy right 2004 (wc: 654)