Misplaced Trust, Misused Life


I’m always blown away when I hear stories about ordinary, working class people who live nondescript and frugal lives, and then die with a million-dollar fortune that they bequeath to a good cause or organization. I wish I could have sat with these people while they were living and questioned them about their motivation. What made them care less about their earthly ease and more about paying it forward? What drove their passion to eschew luxurious living in favor of bountiful giving?

  • Today’s passage speaks to these types of things. As you read Jesus’ parable, ask yourself: What is my relationship with material resources? And how does it affect my relationship with God and others?


19 “There was a rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. 20 And at his gate was laid a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, 21 who desired to be fed with what fell from the rich man’s table. Moreover, even the dogs came and licked his sores. 22 The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried, 23 and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side. 24 And he called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in anguish in this flame.’ 25 But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner bad things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in anguish. 26 And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, in order that those who would pass from here to you may not be able, and none may cross from there to us.’27 And he said, ‘Then I beg you, father, to send him to my father’s house— 28 for I have five brothers—so that he may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment.’ 29 But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’ 30 And he said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ 31 He said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.’”

 English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


  1. List all the differences between the lives of the rich man and the poor man (vss. 19-22). Why do you think only one man was named? Next, contrast their post-death experiences (vss. 22-25).
  2. Ultimately, what did the rich man long for (vs. 24)? Was this something he had extended to Lazarus? Instead of granting the man’s request, what remembrance did Abraham call him to (vs. 25)? Do you use your God-given resources in merciful and compassionate ways to alleviate the suffering of others?
  3. What other important information do we receive about the eternal afterlife from this passage (vs. 26)? (Note: In the New Testament, Hades is where the unsaved dead are gathered. It is a place where people have an awareness of their separation from God.) How does the fact that, after death, no one can change their eternal fate inform your theology?
  4. What did the rich man beg of Abraham, and for what reason (vss. 27-28, 30)? What did the rich man’s brothers have in their possession to hear and learn from (vss. 29, 31)? What does this tell us about Old Testament revelation pertaining to salvation?
  5. In what or whom are you placing your confidence and hope? Why, according to this parable, should you be concerned if your answer to that question is anything other than Jesus?


Jesus warned the Pharisees, those whom Luke said “loved money” (vs. 16:14), by comparing them to the rich man and his brothers. In doing so, he issued a strong admonition against misusing one’s resources and misplacing one’s trust. Lazarus, devoid of any earthly comfort, had evidently secured himself in God; the rich man had secured himself only in the selfish pursuit of earthly comfort. If our only concern is for ourselves, and if we’re more invested in material possessions than mercy, then we fail to extend compassion to others or settle our hearts with God. He has revealed all that is necessary for salvation, but are we too distracted by short-term ease in this life to consider our eternal reality?

  • Ask Jesus where your trust lies—in yourself or in his promise of salvation.
  • Ask him to turn your heart toward eternal things which “neither moth nor rust destroys” (Matt. 6:20).