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Who is at the Gate?

Jesus once told the story of a rich man and a beggar named Lazarus. In 2018, it might go something like this:

A man and his family lived in a nice neighborhood, similar to how “everyone” else lived. They did well and the children went to a great school. They went to First Church, football games on Friday, and golf on Saturdays, until hunting season. Occasionally he noticed a homeless man named Lazarus in the park across from his neighborhood gate. The police would occasionally pick him up, but he always returned annoyingly hungry, sick, and dirty.

The man died comfortably after living a “full” life. Upon reaching the “Pearly Gates” St. Peter turned him down. Shocked and confused the man protested, “God and I had an agreement, an understanding, I went to church…” St. Peter just shook his head. Then he noticed Lazarus. “What about him?” asked the rich man. St. Peter replied, “in your life you had good things, you were blessed with opportunities, a safety net, and resources. Lazarus had none of those. Many days he asked you to share, not a hand out but a hand up. You never really said ‘no’ to his face, you just never looked at his face. So now he is here with an eternity of blessings and you are not.”

Before you ignore this story, realize that a $32k salary gets you into the top 1% income bracket globally, and billions live on less than $2.50 a day.

Recently, I spent time in Haiti, a Caribbean island just off the coast of Florida. Haiti has a difficult history of revolts, coups, and Banana Republics. Now they are a desperately poor and directionless people in need of partners. Along with Haiti, there are pockets of poverty all across the US from the Native American reservations in the West to the Mississippi Delta. There are many in our country in need.

As a group of people, we are too rich, too blessed, and have too many resources to not engage in helping others.

So, what can you do? Here are a few ideas:

  • Check your attitude. God is a defender of the poor and weak. So, you should be too.
  • Give money, you have enough I promise.
  • But don’t just write a check, do something.

We all want to be able to write the check with enough zeros to solve this problem. Bono, Buffet, Gates, and others are trying and they can’t do it. Why? Because the problem is bigger than money. People need people, they need relationships, and respect. You can offer that! Be someone’s person.

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