Hell An Eye-Opener

J. D. Conley
March 9, 2014

"And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments..." (Luke 16:23). How terrifying! How shocking! How excruciatingly painful! The Rich man who dressed and dined "sumptuously every day," found himself in the nadir of circumstances. His despair was comprised of these immutable ingredients, viz., deprivation of luxury, water, respite or escape, or any further extension of mercy. His was the most pitiable and hopeless condition known to man. Hell was an eye-opener!

The tragedy of it all was that it could've been avoided. The Rich man was not in hell because he was rich. There is nothing intrinsically evil about having wealth. His problem was that wealth had him. Due to his iron grip on it, it gripped him and he allowed his money to rule his life. He had no time for pesky beggars like Lazarus. His self focus disallowed him to see the dire needs of the sore covered man laying at his mansion's gate. If he ever once thought about providing medical attention, a tray of food, or a blanket, it must have been a fleeting thought. Jesus is silent regarding any supposed act of benevolence on the part of this well-to-do individual. It's doubtful this man ever once thought about helping Lazarus since Jesus says he would have been happy with the "crumbs," (not table scraps,) that fell from his tabletop.

But now things are reversed! The rich man died. All must die, rich or poor (Hebrews 9:27). Lazarus died too, but he enjoyed an angelic escort into Abraham's bosom. Now Lazarus is rich and the Rich man is poor. More than poor, he is desperate. He is "in torments," i.e., sheer agony! This man who once had all the food he could eat, all the high end clothes he could wear, all the wine he could drink, just wanted one thing. And he wanted it from the very one he had ignored all during his opulent life on earth. He craved that Abraham would send Lazarus across the vast chasm, not with a liter of water, not a cup of water, not even a drop of water, (the word "drop" is not in the text). All he wanted from Lazarus was his moistened fingertip placed on his burning tongue! His desire could not be fulfilled.

How sad that it took the fires of hell to open the rich man's eyes, yet it was too late.  Now is the time to open our eyes to the needs of others. Perish the thought of waking up to late!