In the New Testament and more precisely in the Gospels, Jesus presents the laws of the kingdom of heaven through parables. These parables are illustrative speeches with hidden true meanings. This is how Jesus talks about the parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man. These two men lived diametrically opposed terrestrial lives and, after their deaths, Lazarus found himself “with Abraham” and the other in the land of the dead. Let us discover this biblical passage describing life after death and the importance of the choices we make on earth.
19 “There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day.
20 At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores
21 and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores.
22 “The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried.
23 In Hades, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side.
24 So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’
25 “But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony.
26 And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been set in place, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’
27 “He answered, ‘Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my family,
28 for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’
29 “Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.’
30 “No, father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’
31 “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.”
In reading this passage, let us not conclude that God refuses in his kingdom all those who have been rich on earth. This would be unfair because the Bible itself tells us that: “Abram was extremely rich in flocks, silver and gold.” (Genesis 13:2) and yet it was with Abraham that the poor Lazarus found himself. What God blames this rich man for is that he had no regard for the poor man who stood in front of his door. Our material wealth must serve us not only for our needs but also for the needs of those around us. When God allows a man to become rich, not to attach himself to it, he must learn to give. Indeed, the apostle Paul reminded us of this by saying: “In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:34-35)