"He answered, 'Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my father's house, 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 16:17-31
What is there about human nature that has a tendency to get distracted from the truly urgent to the immediately important?
That is precisely what set the occasion for Jesus' teaching. While He was lecturing His disciples about proper priorities and values of His Kingdom, some religious teachers were eavesdropping so He turned the focus of the teaching on them.
Long ago the Jewish religious leaders had lost sight of what was most spiritually urgent for them to be teaching and living. Like many today, they were lured into a focus on power and wealth believing that those were the ultimate indication of God's blessing.
No wonder Jesus flipped the paradigm on them by having the poor beggar being the more spiritual and the Rich Man as evidenced by where they ended up in eternity. This concept rocked the world of these religious leaders.
Only when the Rich Man awoke in Hell did he finally develop an urgency about the eternal destination of others. Unfortunately, he had presumed that he was fine spiritually because of his wealth and his status as a Jew, one of God's chosen. That false belief caused his to spend his earthly life pursuing the wrong things - temporary material things. It turned out to be a fatal error.
Once his fate was sealed did he suddenly become concerned for the eternal spiritual condition of his loved ones. He called out for Father Abraham to intercede for them so they would not end up in the miserable destination he found himself. By the time he cared about the right things it was too late.
We would do well to hear the admonition Jesus is giving to these Jewish leaders. Like the Rich Man, we so easily get distracted by the temporary and lose sight of the eternal, for ourselves and for those we love.
How tragic to wait until it is too late to become urgent about eternal matters.
God, help us to live with eternity's values in mind! Holy Spirit, help stay focused on the things that matter while there is time to make a difference.
Are you sure you are ready for eternity? Have you prepared yourself to live forever in God's Kingdom? If you were to find yourself in eternity before the end of this day, would you see Lazarus or would you be with the Rich Man?
If you are certain of your eternal destiny, what are you doing to reach others?