Jump Starts Daily

Jump Start #3519

Jump Start # 3519

Luke 16:23 “And in Hades he lifts up his eyes, being in torments, and sees Abraham far away, and Lazarus in his bosom.”

  I was working ahead on some Jump Starts and other things I do around here and I noticed that next week we have a “Leap Day.” An extra day is added to February every four years. I’m sure those who keep track of  yearly calendars, atomic time and such things could give a full reason as to why we are given an extra day every four years. It probably also makes sense to those who understand such things why every spring we “spring forward” with time and every fall we “fall back” with time. For the most of us, it’s an inconvenience and we don’t get it. I don’t get it when it is explained.

  So, next week, we get an “extra day.” And, that brings us to our passage today. The story of the rich man and poor Lazarus. The rich man seems to have everything, but he really didn’t. He had a full belly, full closets but an empty heart. His eyes could count his money, but they couldn’t see the opportunity to help a poor man laying at his gate. There are many people who would have envied this rich man. He had it all, but he really didn’t. And, in death, he and Lazarus trade places. The rich man in death is begging and has no one to help him, just as Lazarus was in life. In death, the rich man was in a place that no one wanted to be. In life, no one wanted to be where Lazarus was. Comfort in life, comfort in death. Agony in life, agony in death. Those two men were complete opposites in life and in death.

  Several years ago, we produced a Jump Start book on the rich man and Lazarus. If you would like a free copy, email me (Rogshouse@aol.com).

  Imagine in the Luke 16 account, that the rich man was given one extra day. It’s leap year for the rich man. What would that look like?

  First, it is very, very likely that the rich man would have spent an extra day pursuing wealth and pleasure. The lessons he learned came after he died. Given another day, we’d expect that nothing would have changed. Given another week…another month…another year…his eyes could not see and his heart was closed.

  I appreciate being able to pray for family and friends of our church family. We pray for their physical wellbeing through surgeries, treatments and hospital stays. And, after their recovery, rarely is anything ever said about them again. What about their souls? We’ve prayed for more days, but what have they done with those days? Maybe it’s time we prayed for the souls and the salvation of our friends and neighbors. Like ole’ Hezekiah, if they are given another 15 years to live, that’s wonderful. But, what if those 15 years are just a continuation of an indifferent spirit about the Lord who gives them that time?

  Second, may the Lord open our eyes to see lessons before it’s too late. The penitent rich man saw things in death that he never saw in life. They were there. He could have seen them, if he looked. But his attention was drawn to making money, eating fine foods and wearing rich clothes. Because of that, he never saw what was really important. He never saw what would happen to his gated house, his fine clothes after he left this place. Where are those things today? Faith, hope, conviction, being a servant, those are the things that he saw too late. He saw how valuable Moses and the Prophets were after he was dead.

  And, what about us? Do we have opportunity laying right in our path and we fail to see it? Opportunity to shine light? Opportunity to serve? Opportunity to teach? Right there, every day when we walk into work or school. Everyday as we have conversations with family members. Everyday as we share things on social media.

  Poor Lazarus was not in Africa. He was at the gate of the rich man’s house. There was no going or coming without passing by Lazarus. Open our eyes, Lord.

  Third, the walk through any cemetery is a stroll through time with those who wished they had one more day. One more day to seek the Lord. One more day to come to the Lord. One more day to apologize. One more day to resist the devil. Cemeteries are islands of regret of so many that lived for themselves but not for the Lord.

  How about spending next Thursday, Leap Day, in deep prayer and thankfulness. An extra day given to you. Don’t  waste it. Don’t treat it as just another day.  You are given a blessing that multitudes who are gone would love to have. An extra day…what a blessing.