Sep 23, 2015 1739

By Des Ford


You might remember the story from Luke 16. There was a very wealthy man who lived and feasted like a king every day. He permitted a beggar named Lazarus at his front gate to consume the crumbs from his royal table. He never talked with the beggar and probably only heard of the beggar’s death long after the event.

Both men died, and as the rich man looked up from hell at Lazarus in heaven, he longed to have Lazarus dip his finger in water to cool his tongue.

Clovis G. Chappell had some interesting insight when he preached on this story. He said:

Thus given only the crumbs, we are not surprised to read that the beggar died. Institutions, causes, men, all these die when we neglect them or feed them only upon crumbs.

But they are not the only ones who die: “The rich man also died.” Crumbs have a way of killing him who gives as well as him who receives.

It’s so easy to forget that God measures our gifts by what we have retained, not by what we have imparted. When a penniless widow surrendered two very small copper coins, Jesus said “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put in more than all the others. All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on” (Luke 21:2-4).

Christ told us that whoever seeks to save his life shall lose it. He wasn’t talking about the narrow, cramped, mean life. The “lose” to which he refers is not just death, but a losing day by day in the here and now. When we fail to give, we die a little every day.

May we so contemplate Jesus in his living and dying that our selfish natures dwindle as we become more like him. “He must increase and I must decrease,” said John the Baptist about Jesus in John 3:30. In that process, we will experience a flood of joy, assurance and love. We will no longer live the “crumby” way!

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