A Short Story on the Rich Man and Poor Lazarus. (Luke 16:19-31)
Part 1: Before Death
Rich Man: I laid back on the comfortable straw filled bed. The glowing lamps around me, ornate and gold. The purple linen hanging around my room. My weight pressing down on the bed, fueling the aches and pains. Servants bringing me wine and meat. I would turn it down, for it seemed useless. I knew the end was near. I longed for my legs to work so I could walk down to my table and hold a feast for my friends. To enjoy life once more.
“Oh, God, why have you done this to me? I served you! Why must I die like this? Are you even a good God? I am a good man.”
Poor Lazarus: I lay out in the cold, beneath the scraps of cloth I managed to maintain for the past 6 months. Ever since I was a boy, the weight of rejection and lack of strength forced my eyes down. Every night I would lay to rest on the ground. Lacking shelter. But my heart would find gratitude from time to time in the little things. Sometimes a kind soul would share food. As for my last day, I found myself begging for scraps from a man who wouldn’t share. I would watch night after night as this man’s servants would carry away from his table leftovers and feed it to his animals. So I would lay hopelessly, hungry, while the dogs would come. Lapping cold wet tongues against gaping wounds. Often, I was too weak to combat them. I would shutter in hopes that they wouldn’t bite down on me. Sometimes they would. But tonight, as I lay, my stomach twisted around emptiness in such a way that forced waves of nausea like rods beating against me.
“Lord, have mercy on me. I am in such pain. Oh, God, is the end near? Remember me.”
Matthew 5:3—The poor in spirit are blessed, for the kingdom of heaven is theirs.
Psalm 34:18—The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
Matthew 10:28—Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the one who can destroy both soul and body in hell.
Part 2: After Life
Rich man: I woke up. Or so I thought I was waking up. My body surprisingly rejuvenated. Surrounded in light. Winds of peace wrapped around me. I knew this feeling isn’t one you can obtain in a mortal body. I knew this was a feeling that could not belong to the fallen world.
“I’ve made it! Oh God I have arrived in heaven. Where is my feast?” I chuckled jubilantly
“Surly you have food for me, I served in your temple Lord!”
A man in a robe walked out from a light. He himself was light. And I put my hands up to my face to block the light, for it was annoying my peace here in the afterlife.
“Who are you? Have you come to bring me my feast?”
The light spoke in waves of thunder.
“Why are you here?”
Mixtures of fear and peace coinciding at the same time.
“I am here to live my afterlife, I suppose? I served in the temple. I was a good man. Surely I deserve this.”
Before I could finish my words, the ground beneath me erupted, and I was shaken to the ground. As the floor beneath me separated and a chasm was created. The light and man who spoke with it was being pulled away from me as the chasm separated us.
Immediately as my peace left with him I yelled out.
“Wait, come back!” He did not.
Poor Lazarus: When I woke up. The strangest thing happened. The wounds that I had spent my life beneath were gone. It was different from every day I can ever remember waking up. I didn’t feel tired, the physical or emotional kind that plagued my life. The twisting in my stomach ceased. And I jumped to my feet. “God surely you are here in this place, let me see your face!”
A man in a robe walked up wrapped in a glorious light. The second I saw the light, I felt a type of fulfillment I didn’t know existed. He, Himself was light, and I was forced to my knees where I shouted praise. I knew, I knew this must be God’s kingdom. The light spoke in awesome waves of thunder.
“Why are you here?”
“I am here at your disposal, my Lord. Thank you!” I cried out on my face now. ”Be nearer to me.”
Part 3: After the afterlife.
Rich man: After the chasm had separated me, I started to think about how much I didn’t want to be in this place. How much better my life was and how badly I wanted to go back to living it. Perhaps I spent my days in the temple serving and it was all a lie. Perhaps I should have been serving Baal or Ashtoreth. My passion to go home felt like a furnace within me. All I wanted was the fulfillment of the parties I had with my friends. I missed my friends and my house. I had lived a good life. Perhaps the life I lived was better than “heaven.” Suddenly amidst my fierce frustration with God, I saw two men walking. I recognized them. One was Abraham himself! And the other, much to my surprise, was a man I recognized with even more of a shock. This was a lowly man, a man who used to sit at my gate begging on the other side. So I shouted to him:
“Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.”
Poor Lazarus: From the light other beings spilled fourth and surrounded me. Each soul beaming with pride in the creator that now stood by him in marvelous light. The unexplainable comfort of this place welled up as I began to sob. “Holy, holy, holy Lord,” I shouted! All those around me shouted praises too. A man put his hands on my shoulders. I felt the weight and looked up to see Abraham.
“Abraham!” I shouted, “His glory is true!”
“Yes, Lazarus,” said Abraham in a confident laugh, “Come walk with me brother.”
After a few short minutes of our walk. I saw the man who owned the house I used to beg outside of, although I couldn’t hear what he was shouting. Abraham yelled back at him.
“Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been set in place, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.”
Then Abraham paused and listened to the man. I still was unable to hear for there was indeed a wide chasm separating us from this man. Then Abraham spoke once more.
“They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.”
Then he paused once more and continued on.
“If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.”
We turned and walked away and Abraham raised both arms up in the air and with a deep bellowing voice and a wide smile said,
“Let us feast with the King of kings, Lazarus!”
Rich man: He denied my request for water and pointed back to that chasm that at first had separated me from that penetrating voice and the peace I once felt in this afterlife. But here on this side of the chasm, it was hot and felt the flames were wrapping around my legs like tall wet grass on a warm day. I felt some type of fierce weight of emptiness and it was crushing my bones. It was difficult to even breath the air around me. I felt this deep void deeper than any void I felt living. I was hungry and parched. Suddenly my brain shifted as I realized if I was truly dead then I would be here forever. If this was the afterlife, I was to live it ever after. The sorrow grew even deeper for I had family I loved. I did not want to see my brothers here so I shouted back to them in desperation.
“Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my family, for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.”
He shouted back to me about Moses and the prophets and my blood boiled more than it already was due to this unexcitable heat. Why didn’t he understand? Why didn’t he want to save my brothers from this? With rage I responded to him,
“No, father Abraham, but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.”
He shouted something back that I couldn’t hear and then turned away and walked off with the foul, sick man, Lazarus. I stumbled up to my feet and turned to find water, food, comfort, anything . . .
Note from the author :
Both men were “good” but what did they seek? God gives us what we seek (Mathew 7:7, “Keep asking, and it will be given to you. Keep searching, and you will find. Keep knocking, and the door will be opened to you. Also see Matthew 6:9, “Don’t collect for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal.”) God gives us what we desire. What is it you want with your life, where do your desires lie? (Matthew 6:21, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”) What’s the point of going to heaven if you don’t desire Jesus? If you don’t desire God. Heaven, the most glorious place in all creation would be a disappointment if the climax of your life is living it for you. This also outlines the choice we have to make. To live for ourselves or find God.
Dear God, I thank you for these deep concepts. I pray you would lead us to truth. I pray we would come into a deep love, desperation, and adoration for you, God. Bring us to truth about what life is really for, what’s really important. This world is adamant at confusing us about status and money, and being noticed. I pray that we would seek favor from you alone, God.