In the book of Luke (in the New Testament of the Bible) Jesus tells a story about two different people – A rich man and a poor beggar.

The story starts like this:

There was a rich man who dressed in fine clothes and who had the wealth and resources to live as he pleased.  Just outside of the rich man’s property sat a beggar named Lazarus.  The beggar laid waiting to eat the crumbs and scraps leftover from the rich man’s meals.

Jesus goes on to talk about thier deaths, the rich man’s plea from hell to abraham to let Lazarus go and warn his family, and their interactions following.  There is so much going on in this story that is absolutely mind blowing, but I have learned an incredible truth from just the opening scene…

Jesus makes a point to mention that the rich man is dressed in fine clothes.  Why?  Dressing well was in no way against the law – which Jesus supports in the verses prior.  In fact, it would have been most common for a man of wealth to dress according to his income.  He actually would have been more respected because he dressed nicely.  hmm…

Jesus also makes a point that he lived well.  One version says that the rich man was “joyously living in splendor every day.”  Jesus tells us that the rich man lived for himself.  He did with his wealth what made him feel good.  He may have even lived out slogans such as, “Just do it”, “Reward yourself”, or even “Live your best life now”.

The situation of the beggar being at his gates is interesting and genius.  The beggar was at his gates because he was getting the “crumbs” from the rich man’s table.  This again, was not a rarity.  In fact, the rich man would have been seen as more “spiritual” because of the beggar being allowed to be there.   When people came to visit or eat with the rich man they would have passed by the beggar at the gate.  The rich man may have said something like, “yeah, that is just my buddy Lazarus, I help him out with food.  He had a hard childhood and he has no where else to go.  I just don’t want him to go hungry.”

A couple of things to pull from this amazing story.

The rich man gave to Lazarus out of his excess.  He gave him his leftovers.  The rich man lived the life he wanted to, he focused on accomplishing his goals, and he gave “freely” to Lazarus out of what was left – Crumbs.  I do not want to only give out of excess.  I do not want to be like this rich man.  I do not want budget for building wealth – and then give out of what is left.

The second is their names.   Jesus did not give the rich man a name.  In fact, he only calls him by the term rich.  But to the beggar he gives the name Lazarus.  Lazarus is a contraction of the word la Eliezar, which is a term given to a person so wretched and poor that only God could help them.  Jesus names the person a word that means no man could help them – only God.  The rich man did not help the poor man by giving his food. Only by living for God, and not himself, could the rich man have made a difference in the life of Lazarus.  Only if the rich man died to himself.  It was only God, or God in him, that could have helped Lazarus.

I live like the rich man.  I am the rich man.

In 2007, The average American spent $641 per person on clothes.  Almost half the world — over three billion people — live on less than $2.50 a day.  We are all the rich man.

Today I felt God telling me to give a tip to a worker at a coffee shop that would help them with some bills they have.  I wanted to give a low amount, but still an amount large enough to be a “big” tip.  I felt like there was something bigger God was trying to teach me, so I gave an amount that will change how I have to live.  I will have to adjust the budget and takes some things out.  Truth is, this is the first of all the gives that will do this.  Until now I have given out of my excess.

I have given my crumbs.

I want to be different.  I want to be different than the rich man.  But also, the point isn’t to be like Lazarus either, the point is to be like Jesus.  The point is to die to myself so that God can be the savior.