There were 2 business partners, who were a little shady. They died and went to hell…. The one was miserable, with feet in boiling water and flames about his head. But he knew that it would be even worse for his partner. But when he looked out, there was his partner, and being served tea by a butler in tails. So when Satan was making his rounds, he pointed at them and asked why.
And Satan responded, Who are you to judge the butler’s punishment?
Ok. I changed the joke. Rather than the butler in tails, the original joke was a beautiful woman in a red dress sitting on the shady business man’s lap. It seems too offensive. Perhaps, you would prefer a politician, a lawyer, a stock broker. It does not matter, except that however we tell it, it probably should not be a person who represents the least of these. And, it just won’t do to tell the story so that it strikes too close to home. You may actually have a politician, lawyer, or broker sitting in the pew who will be offended. You may actually rely on these to pay for the budget, your budget. And the parable will already have many on edge. So, to misquote a line from the Matrix: if you like the woman in the red dress, I can help.
Chapter 16 is about money. Indeed, much of Luke-Acts is about money. BUT, both the ministry of Jesus and the burgeoning church are reliant on the generosity of people with possessions. There is a message here that needs to be heard, but I do not think that in the kingdom to come, the Lazaruses of the world will be waited upon hand and foot by the those who have possessions in the present age. As the great divide between us becomes set, the intolerant mindset pervades both sides.
Respected baseball umpire Bill Klem weighed more than 300 pounds. He was also flamboyant. He invented the chest protector. Whenever he was behind the plate, he maintained control. Few dared challenge his calls. But in one game things got out of hand. At the bottom of the ninth, the score was tied, with two outs and a runner on third. The pitcher hung a curve ball over the plate. The batter hit a shallow single just over the third baseman’s head. The left-fielder raced toward the ball, scooped it up, and made a one-bounce throw to home plate. The runner and the catcher collided at home plate in a cloud of dust. The players poured out of the dugouts screaming, “He’s safe!” and others yelling “He’s out!” Amid the confusion, Bill threw off his mask, held up his two massive arms, and shouted, “He ain’t nothin’ ’til I say he’s something!”
Have a great week – Laurin