Vol. 8, No. 10
~ Page 5 ~
As I'm writing this article (March 2004), I can hear birds singing. Looking to my left out of the windowed doors of my study I can see that it is a beautiful sunny day; the thermometer on the wall gives an outdoor temperature of 69 degrees. The sky is so blue and the grass green, the first hint that Spring is right around the corner. What a nice day it is! But for the last two weeks I've been under the weather; the doctor said it was some kind of infection in my nose or maybe he said I was sick in the head; at any rate I've had cold-like symptoms that have kept me away from work and church. I've been lying around the house trying to get well. Today, I feel better; I got a good night's rest and the symptoms are beginning to subside. Looking out of the window, I think to myself, "What a great day to be out working in the yard or tinkering around out in the shop. Maybe a trip down to the lake." But then I realize that I'm not quite well yet and that I probably need to stay in for at least another day. Its almost torture to sit here, look outside and see the wonderful day the Lord has blessed us with and not be able to get out there and enjoy it. It's the pits.
I can't help but to think about another man who looked and saw something wonderful but was unable to go there and enjoy it. This man's story can be found in Luke 16:19-31. This is of course the story of the "Rich Man and Lazarus." Jesus told of the rich man who lived a life of great material wealth, while the poor beggar Lazarus suffered every day. But as with all of mankind, their lives ended on earth and began in eternity. The Bible says that after the rich man died, " In hell he lifted up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom." What was he seeing? Why he was seeing the glories of paradise, a wonderful place of comfort and rest. And who did he see, Lazarus, the poor, wretched beggar man that laid at his gate. Many a day he had walked by him thinking, "How disgusting can one human being be? Look at him, sores all over him. Why doesn't he take a bath? I can smell his stench from here!" But what was in the rich man's nostrils now? The smell of smoke and sulfur, the smell of burning flesh? He was being burned alive! Yet, not far away he could see Lazarus, enjoying the pleasures that God had prepared for him. Oh how the rich man wanted to be there; its was just within reach or so it seemed. He cried out for help, "Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame." But the answer was this, "Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime received thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented." Not only this but there was one other problem. There was a great gulf, a barrier, a deep canyon between them and neither one could get to the other. The rich man was so close, yet so far, far away. During his lifetime, the rich man had many days in the sun, days full of enjoyment, comfort and rest. But now it was over; now he could only look and in agonizing pain realize what had really been important. What would it have hurt to give poor Lazarus the things he needed? It would have been very little, yet it could have counted for so much.
I just heard that bird singing again. As I again look out the window, I still wish I could go outside, but if the Lord wills, I'll recover and there will be other beautiful days to enjoy. But we must always keep in mind that we should use these good days not only for ourselves but in service to God, because what we do today will carry a great weight tomorrow. Will we enjoy the wonderful blessing of eternal rest or will we just be able to see it from a distance?