He is dirty, has a long scraggly beard and holds a sign in his hands that simply said “Hungry. Anything will help.” His name is Lazarus.
Does this sound familiar? Likely you have driven past him as you entered the parking lot at the shopping center or fast food restaurant. Responding to his predicament is a tough call. On one hand, Jesus teaches us that we are to care for the needy, feed the hungry and offer help to the poor. One the other hand, we don’t know if the person begging from us is truly in need or if they are trying to take advantage of a person’s generosity.
Street corners and parking lots are a haven for beggars. For some it is food for their children. With others, gas for the car, or medicine for a particular ailment. Today, Jesus teaches us that we should be kind to those in need, sharing what we have for the sake of the poor and hungry without judging them. The question is, do we help?
Focusing on the man we drove by as we entered the parking lot consider this, in Hebrew, the name Lazarus means “God will help.” No, not every beggar is in such need. We won’t always be willing to let go of those precious dollars we worked so hard to get. But we can act in good faith, for we have Moses and the prophets to teach us. We have God’s commandments and we have the parables of Jesus. The truth is, God will help. He helps Lazarus, and he will help us too.
Father in heaven, give us hearts for compassion, and the will to be generous to those in need. Amen.