“The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried.” (Luke 16:22, NIV84)
This verse comes from the parable of the rich man and Lazarus. This parable forces us into a reality check because it challenges our perspective. It is easy to picture the event of this parable as Jesus told it. There was a rich man who lived in a big house. He had many friends and did not want for anything. At the same time there was a poor beggar who lived at the front gate of the rich man’s house. He was always in need, with few to no friends. The contrast of their two lives is stark. It almost makes us uncomfortable. Jesus tells us in the parable that both men died on the same day. Can you picture it? A servant or someone would find the rich man dead in his bed and the wailing would begin. First it would be the household, but soon the whole town would be reacting to the death of one of its important and powerful members. The funeral of the rich man would be crowded with people paying their last respects. On the other hand, the poor beggar Lazarus, who was found dead at the gate of the rich man’s house, would have been scooped up by someone responsible for cleaning the streets and then buried. That’s it! Done! That’s how it would look from our perspective.
But God’s perspective is very different. Solomon says in the book of Proverbs, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death” (Prov. 14:12). God sees things differently from the way we do. Do you find it interesting that Jesus named the poor beggar (Lazarus), while the rich man was the one who was nameless? I find it not only interesting, but hugely profound. It is clear that we do not always see things as they are. From Jesus’ perspective (the only reality that matters), it was the nameless rich man who simply died and was buried. But for Lazarus, an angel from heaven came down to greet him upon his death and take him to heaven. What a beautiful picture! What an amazing contrast of realities! It is so important that we seek the wisdom and discernment of God so that we can see things as we ought. We need to see things through His eyes.
Stop for a minute and evaluate what currently matters most to you. Are you certain that it is what matters most to God? It may be time for a reality check. We need to make sure that we see our lives and the world around us through the eyes of Christ. He alone has a perfect perspective of reality.