The Bible says God has placed eternity in our hearts. That is, God has planted the desire of eternity with him deep within our souls so we won’t settle for anything less. The problem is as we go through life, we breathe in the atmosphere of our temporal world and it sort of anesthetizes us to what matters most. We begin to slumber through life and just go through the motions. We need a wake-up call and, in this story, Jesus gives us one.
As Jesus, the master storyteller, spoke His listeners were on the edge of their seats. He told about a guy who was really wealthy and everyday he walked outside his house and passed this poor beggar. In vivid detail Jesus told how filthy and diseased the beggar was, how his body was already decaying, and the dogs from the slums would lick his sores. He would get next to the wealthy man’s house in hopes of getting some crumbs from this man’s table. But every day the rich man walked past him and didn’t give him the time of day.
Then the story takes a shocking twist that none of Christ’s listeners ever saw coming. It says, “The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. In hell, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side.” Luke 16:22-23. The religious leaders of that day taught that if you were wealthy, it meant God loved you more than others. If you were poor, it meant that God was punishing you, but nothing was further from the truth. Then Jesus said that although those men came from completely different backgrounds, they had one thing in common. They both died.
What was Jesus saying here? What was He trying to get across? Well, Jesus wasn’t saying wealthy people go to hell and poor people to go Heaven. He was trying to help us get a glimpse of eternity to change us forever, so we don’t waste our lives on things that don’t last. He wants us to keep an eternal perspective and realize that we don’t live on this side of eternity forever.