The Rich Man And The Street Person
Essay, Research Paper
The story of Lazarus is a story of a man s faith towards God. Lazarus was a poor man who suffered from a disease that was not curable during the time in which he lived. His body was covered with sores, he was thin and very weak. Because of this he could not work to earn a living. This forced him to live on the streets. The only thing that Lazarus found happiness in was God. He prayed morning, noon and evening to the LORD 1.
Lazarus did not have any relatives or friends that would help him with money, food or shelter, either. He slept on the street through the cold, the rain and the wind, clutching his torn and ragged clothes around him 2. Whenever he was hungry he would crawl to the gate of a rich man s stable and ate the scraps of food that were left behind. The rich man did not like the fact that Lazarus would crawl around near his house and refused to give any money or food to him. He did not want his wealthy friends to pass by and see this disgusting creature 3. Without proper food and shelter, Lazarus soon died.
As he died, angels guided his soul to heaven and soon he was in the presence of the Lord. Lazarus looked around him and saw that his body was now free from sores4, his scraggly hair had been replaced with thick and lustrous hair and his faced glowed without wrinkles. Around him were loving people who had entered the gates of heaven before him5.
Soon, though, the rich man from whom Lazarus found his food scraps also became sick and died. The man, though, did not believe in God or do any of the things that God wanted his servants to do. Because of his beliefs, there were no angels to take his soul to heaven. In fact, he passed straight into hell. He found hell to be a very real, terrifying and horrible place to be 6. The rich man saw Lazarus far off, free from sores and pain and with Abraham. He cried out for mercy but Abraham replied, Child, remember that you received in full your good things in your lifetime, but Lazarus correspondingly the injurious things, 7 implying that since Lazarus had prayed to God, he is now well and because the rich man did not, he must now suffer.
The rich man now realized that he had lived his life badly and was destined to spend the rest of eternity in hell. Lazarus, though, because of his strong faith, will forever enjoy eternity in the presence of God.
The story has several significant outcomes, but the most important is that of Lazarus s lasting faith in God. His life on earth was filled with pain and suffering. His body was covered in sores, his hair was long and scraggly, and he had torn clothes, no shelter and was forced to live off of the food scraps of a rich man. Yet, everyday he prayed to God and kept faith in him, never getting angry for the way his life was. No one would help him and he did not have anyone to turn to. When he dies, though, he is brought to a wonderful place in the presence of God and stays there for eternity with a healthy body, a glowing face and wonderful people around him. This is his reward for keeping his faith in God.
There can be two themes identified by the teachers of this religious tradition. The first is to always have faith in God no matter what happens for in the end, it will pay off. The second theme is that doing evil may cause one suffering later on as it did to the rich man. These themes will be discussed later on.
As mentioned before, there are two themes that arise in the story of the Rich Man and the Street Person. The first is that of faith. This theme is significant because it teaches readers that no matter what happens to one in his/her lifetime, if he/she always keeps faith in God, they will be rewarded in the end. The street person in this story lived a life of suffering and pain. He was never well enough to work and earn a living8 and no one around him would ever help him. Yet through all of this, he prayed to God and when he died the suffering stopped. Because of his everlasting faith, God sent angels to direct his soul to heaven and cured his body of all diseases. He was with caring, loving and good people and no long had to worry about food or shelter. This was his reward for keeping his faith. This shows readers that if they trust God, all their problems will eventually go away and they will be happy in the end.
The second theme is that evil actions may bring about suffering in the end. This is the case with the rich person. He used to deck himself with purple and linen and enjoy(ed) himself from day to day magnificence 9. He knew of the poor man who ate the scraps from the gates of his house yet he paid no attention to him. He did not offer him shelter, he did not offer him food, nor did he offer him any money. He felt that allowing him to eat off of his scraps was a good deed and did not have to do anything more. When the rich man died, though he was not greeted by the angles as Lazarus was. He was taken to the gates of hell where he was tormented and suffered for eternity. This was his punishment for his evil actions towards the poor man, Lazarus.
There are several principles that can be adapted from the story of a rich man and a poor man. First, the followers of this religion can learn that the life of our souls does not end at the time of death10. For example, the poor man never knew that after he passed away he would, in a sense, keep on living. He ended up in heaven and stayed there for eternity. The rich man, on the other hand, who thought he had nothing to worry about after he died, ended up in hell where his soul was tormented and he suffered forever.
A second lesson to be taught is that one s eternal abode 11 in heaven or hell is determined by the choices one makes during his life. Lazarus decided to pray to God and never lost his faith. Even though he suffered on earth, he still had a good heart. This allowed him passage to heaven. The rich man, though, did not care to go out of his way and help this poor man. He did not even believe in God. The rich man had not wanted God to intrude into the rich man s life after death. The rich man s choice not to help Lazarus and not to pray to the Lord led him to an eternity in hell.
Finally, after reading this story, one can also begin to see that heaven and hell are real places and after one dies, his soul will be taken there. Heaven is described as a wonderful place of eternal joy and happiness where love and care surround (one) all of the time 12 and hell is a place of suffering and torment.
As one can see, this story teaches many lessons and shows that evil actions can cause one to suffer later on but if one keeps his faith in God, many great rewards await. This story of the rich man and Lazarus can help people today better cope with their own lives for it shows them that in times of hardship and suffering, continuing to pray and do good will eventually pay off and teaches people to never give up hope.