What we pursue: reflections

Lazarus-Rich-ManFrom Alan R. Culpepper [319-20]

Did the brothers ever get the message? We are not told, for that is the question the parable leaves us to answer. Each of us will write our own ending to the story.

1. Archbishop Richard Trench, writing on this parable more than a century ago, compared the diseases that afflicted the two characters:

The sin of Dives in its root is unbelief: hard-hearted contempt of the poor, luxurious squandering on self, are only the forms which his sin assumes. The seat of the disease is within; these are but the running sores which witness for the inward plague. He who believes not in an invisible world of righteousness and truth and spiritual joy, must place his hope in things which he sees, which he can handle, and taste, and smell. It is not of the essence of the matter, whether he hoards [like the rich fool, 12:16–21] or squanders [like the prodigal son, 15:11–32]: in either case he puts his trust in the world.

The rich man, therefore, characterizes the life of one who serves mammon because he has no confidence in God (cf. 16:13). Continue reading