Inequality: The Rich Man, Lazarus, the Dogs and Me

Love All PeopleLuke 16:19-21

Inequality surrounds our daily journey.

There was a rich man dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day (v 19)

Inequality is in our homes, at our doorstep, neighborhood, community, country and world.

At his gate laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. (v 19-20)

The disparity between the poor and rich is not new. No one can claim to live in a land of equality.  Jesus identified Lazarus as anyone who falls to the bottom of the equality pyramid – the least, the lost, the last and the left out:

  • Economic equality
  • Racial equality
  • Ethnic equality
  • Gender equality
  • Age equality
  • Marriage equality
  • Education equality

Inequality leaves Lazarus homeless, hungry, thirsty, sick, naked, a stranger and in prison. It is easy for the rich man to put on blinders to navigate around or step over Lazarus.

While there are times and ways that I have fallen to the bottom of the pyramid, I am more like the rich man. I have a home, too much to eat (ask my scale), much to drink, clothes, medical insurance, family, friends and freedom.

The rich man is anyone who feels they are blessed by God and Lazarus is cursed.  We are the rich man when we feel superior to Lazarus and not equal to him.

The rich man is anyone who doesn’t believe they have any responsibility to interfere with the social order of things; or anyone who fears the result to their loved ones ‘inheritance” with no regard to Lazarus and his family. The rich man asks, “Who are we to interfere?”

Even the dogs came and licked his sores (v 21).

The dogs lick Lazarus’ wounds but also enjoy the scraps from the masters table.  They don’t do anything to change the social inequality.  The dogs enjoy the things as they are.

Who are the dogs?

The Church with me included is the dogs.  We collect and send a daily ration of food, clothing, water and other stuff.  We make Lazarus dependent upon us for his daily needs.  We are the dogs when we feel superior to Lazarus and not equal to him.  We are the dogs when fail to seek equality for Lazarus:

  • we don’t listen to Lazarus when he is young or old
  • we vote to cut services to Lazarus
  • we don’t support equal pay for Lazarus
  • we don’t support a proper education for Lazarus
  • we worry more for the rich man’s pocket than Lazarus’ health
  • we don’t greet Lazarus the stranger
  • we reject Lazarus the immigrant
  • we look away or blame Lazarus when raped
  • we don’t seek justice when Lazarus is shot unarmed
  • we don’t treat Lazarus’ body with respect
  • we tell Lazarus who he can marry, where he can live, who he must worship (or not) and what he can enjoy.

We are the dogs when we fail to invite Lazarus to our table to be a part of our family.  Amen.

 

Related Links:

Blog Action Day

#inequality #BAD2014 #Bad14 #BlogAction14

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