“There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. And at his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who longed to satisfy his hunger with what fell from the rich man’s table; even the dogs would come and lick his sores. The poor man died and was carried away by the angels to be with Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried. In Hades, where he was being tormented, he looked up and saw Abraham far away with Lazarus by his side. He called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am in agony in these flames.’ But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that during your lifetime you received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner evil things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in agony. Besides all this, between you and us a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who might want to pass from here to you cannot do so, and no one can cross from there to us.’ He said, ‘Then, father, I beg you to send him to my father’s house— for I have five brothers—that he may warn them, so that they will not also come into this place of torment.’ Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; they should listen to them.’ He said, ‘No, father Abraham; but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’ ”
One of my all time favorite movies is Schindler’s List. The film follows Oskar Schindler, a German businessman, who saved more than a thousand Jewish refugees from the Holocaust by employing them in his factories during World War II. When the war is over, Schindler must flee the advancing Red Army to avoid capture because he was part of the Nazi party. The final scene is immensely touching.
As Schindler bids farewell to his workers and prepares to head west, hoping to surrender to the Americans, the workers give Schindler a signed statement attesting to his role in saving Jewish lives and present him with a ring engraved with a Talmudic quotation: "Whoever saves one life saves the world entire." Schindler is touched but also ashamed, as he feels he should have done even more. And he breaks down sobbing.
I have never been able to forget that scene. It expressed the regret of a man who did all he could to save lives but still wished he had done more. And then I can’t help but contrast that with the majority of us who do little or nothing to save the countless lost people around us. We are oblivious — or pretend to be oblivious — of their suffering, both temporal and eternal, and don’t seem to care if they die physically or eternally.
Today’s parable serves as a warning — by Lord Jesus, no less — of the consequences of not sharing our blessings with others. God has given some of us more than he has given others, not with the idea that we hoard these blessings to ourselves for ourselves, but to be shared with others. Please do note that he doesn’t tell us we shouldn’t live comfortably. He is simply saying we can’t do it unmindful of others. And this includes the knowledge of salvation!
Let us not end up like the rich man in this story and be filled with regret. Let us, rather, be like Oscar Schindler, whose regret was that he didn’t do enough.