“Don’t judge; that’s God’s job!”

The Parables of Jesus

March 31, 2022

Don’t judge; that’s God’s job

Luke 16:19-31

There’s an old saying I think of quite often. “Never judge a book by its cover.” I think of these words when I see someone who is homeless or in need.

I often see homeless people on street corners. When I see that they may be smoking or have really nice shoes, I say to myself, “If they can afford cigarettes or have nice shoes, they can afford food.” Have you ever done that? That is being judgmental.

When I was a full-time church worker, my students and I would deliver groceries to needy families, as I have mentioned before. There were times we’d bring the groceries to the door, and we’d be invited in. On any number of occasions, the house was nicer inside than my own. And I would say to myself, “If they have such a nice home, why do they need help with groceries?” Once again, I was being judgmental.

When we encounter the homeless and the poor, judging them is not our place. We don’t know what their circumstances are or what brought them to be in need. As I said earlier, it’s not our place to judge; that’s God’s job.

In Deuteronomy 15:11, we are charged to help the needy, not judge them.

“For the poor will never cease out of the land; therefore, I command you, You shall open wide your hand to your brother, to the needy and to the poor, in the land.”

This brings us to our Parable for today.

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The Rich man and Lazarus

“There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores.

 “The time came when the beggar died, and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. In Hades, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. So, he called 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.’

 “But Abraham replied, ‘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.’

 “He answered, ‘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.’

 “Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.’

 “‘No, father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’

 “He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’”              

 Luke 16:19-31

You’ll notice that the rich man is not named. Some theologians refer to him in Latin as ‘Dives,” which means rich. The beggar is named Lazarus. It leads me to wonder if Jesus wasn’t indicating who He showed favor from right from the start of the story.

On another note, just to avoid confusion, Lazarus in this story is not the brother of Mary and Martha, who Jesus raised from the dead.

Lazarus ended up in heaven with Father Abraham. Of course, the rich man did not, so it would not be presumptuous to call Lazarus a pious (devoutly religious) man. But nevertheless, isn’t it interesting to see how one’s fortunes can change after death.

The rich man made no move to help Lazarus. He didn’t give him the scraps from his table. And, like the rich young ruler, he offered nothing to the poor. The rich man is like the farmer who was going to build barns for his wealth of crops and just sit back and enjoy life. Only to find out his life would be taken from him that very night.

The rich man’s mind and heart are also satisfied with earthly treasures. But, once again, we are shown that “You can’t take it with you.”

The rich man sees Lazarus and Abraham up in heaven. He begs for some type of help, even a sip of water. But it’s too late.

Here are two points to remember. One, Jesus emphasizes that we should use the riches God gives us wisely. One of the ways to use our wealth is to help the less fortunate

The second point pertains to something Abraham says to the rich man.

‘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.’

 “Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.’

Abraham is referring to the Old Testament. God says, “My Grace is sufficient for you.” God’s Grace and His call for repentance are found in His Word. This is why the call to read, learn and understand the scriptures is so important. As the rich man found out, our chance for redemption is over once we leave this world.

Don’t judge the poor; give to the poor. But, don’t presume your good works of giving and helping will save you. We are only saved by God’s Grace through our Faith in Jesus Christ.

Dear Lord. So many times, we judge others. We criticize not just the poor but because of someone’s race, creed, and color. Help us to see others as you do and be servants to all. Amen.

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