A Reflection on Luke 16:19-31
The Lord’s Prayer has been on my mind recently, perhaps because we just studied it together in our “Here I Stand” Lenten devotional series based on Martin Luther’s Small Catechism. Something that Seth Muller wrote in his Monday, March 20, devotion really stuck with me:
“The prayer starts out with Our Father. OUR FATHER! Not MY Father. We have been made for community. It’s not all about me, me, me. It’s about us, us, us.”
Have you ever stopped to consider that, when we pray in this prayer for “our daily bread,” the same lesson applies? We pray for daily bread (that is, the necessities for this body and life) to come to us… the entire human family. Yes, indeed: daily bread is not just for me, me, me – it’s for us, us, us.
How can we, who have more than what is needed for daily life, pray “give us this day our daily bread” and not share what we have, with those who lack life’s most basic necessities?
In the Gospel lesson for this weekend (linked above), Jesus tells a parable of a rich man who had everything he needed, plus so much more. He was aware of Lazarus, a poor man in the community who literally wasted away outside of his gate on a daily basis, and yet did nothing to help him. You could say that his attitude toward Lazarus was “Not My Problem!” Only in death does the rich man begin to understand the responsibility he had toward his neighbor in need…however, for him, it was too late.
It is not too late for us to share with our neighbors in need – indeed, the time for us to share is now. Jesus told this parable in order to stir us awake, that his mindset would become ours.
Sometimes the “Lazarus” God calls you to help might be someone you know personally. Other times, “Lazarus” may show up when you learn there’s been a disaster in a neighboring community, or you are aware of the plight of a group of refugees on the other side of the world. Even if we are not loaded with excess money and material goods, like the rich man in Jesus’ parable, we all have something to give: time, friendship, prayer, advocacy, awareness, compassion.
Another simple thing we can do to keep our neighbors’ needs before us is to stay connected to groups that are committed to the act of sharing daily bread with others. Many great organizations exist, but I’ll link to just three below. You can donate, take action, or sign up for emails today.
I can’t wait to dig into this story more with you on Sunday. See you in church!