There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.
One was clothed in the best material, the other was full of sores, living in pain with no relief for that. One fared sumptuously. He had the best food and lots of it. The other was hungry, so desperate that he would take the mere crumbs left over from the rich man’s feast. Lazarus had only a dog to lick his sores—no human companion or human compassion. But it turned out that both of these conditions were temporary.
They would both enter into their eternity, and now their conditions are reversed. The difference is, there is a great gulf fixed. Lazarus could not help the rich man even if he wanted to. His fate was sealed. But when he was living large and ignoring Lazarus at his gate, there was no such gulf. He had an opportunity to show mercy and kindness. He didn’t have to go far to be a help and a blessing, to fulfill the will of God and provide for the poor, help someone in need, offer a little comfort for his suffering.
All the rich man had focused on during his life was his own comfort. Now in eternity, the thing that he lacks is comfort. He is tormented forever in that flame. Now he’s the beggar outside the gate, and there are no crumbs to fall from Abraham’s table, no drop of water, no momentary relief. When all we want are the riches of this life, that is all we will have. And when this life is over, all of those things will not do us any good. But if we live a life serving God, rich in Him, rich in His love, we have so much more, because our best is yet to come, and it will dwarf whatever we miss out on here.
Most of us want to live a comfortable life. We plan ahead so we can have a comfortable retirement. But are we planning ahead so we have a comfortable eternity? No matter how the world around us tries to skew the perception of what life after death is like, the Bible gives us a very clear picture. Those who die without Christ will go to this real place of torment. But those who trust Christ will go to a place where God promises to wipe away every tear, where there will be no crying, no pain, no death. And it’s not just a place absent of pain, but a place full of the presence of our Savior.