Mercy for the Poor
When running a race where you are at any particular time isn’t important. It only matters where you end up. The same is true in the relationship between this life and the next. Do we live our lives for here and now, or do we live with the end in mind? Do we enjoy ease and luxury right now while ignoring our responsibility to show mercy to the poor?
In the parable of Lazarus and the rich man, Jesus debunks the idea that your personal wealth (or lack of it) is a sign of God’s approval (or lack of it). Lazarus, the poor man in this story dies and goes to everlasting consolation. The rich man who callously ignored Lazarus at his front door faces judgment when he dies. God judges the rich man not because of his wealth, but because of how he used his wealth. He is responsible for living extravagantly while ignoring the needy person literally on his doorstep.
Do we make the same mistake when we encounter others who are less fortunate than we are? Do we ignore the homeless, or avoid the addicted or ill? Do we treat them like problems to be solved or human beings to whom we are commanded to show mercy? Jesus shows us God’s approach. He never abstracts sinners, but rather lives among them, showing them, in practical terms, what God’s love looks like. And Jesus sends us as the Father sent him (John 20:21). So just as Jesus has mercy for the poor, so must we.