After Steve and I had Caleb, our first son, we wondered how we could possibly love another child this much. But then Asher arrived and our hearts somehow just got bigger. And when Eden arrived a couple years later, there was more than enough love to go around! Our hearts are not built to be small. Our hearts are built to be enlarged—to love more. I’ve noticed this—that whenever I let Him, God enlarges my heart for more love.
Lazarus is begging at the rich man’s gates, infected and hungry, dog licking at his sores, while the rich man is eating and living in luxury. After they die, things are reversed and yet the rich man still wants to look out only for himself. All that time Lazarus was just outside the rich man’s gate. But he was never SEEN. The gate was never opened.
The rich man would have known the law and the prophets - which clearly teach care for the poor. He acts as though he didn’t know, however. He is blinded by his wealth and self-centredness. Even with their places reversed, the rich man continues to treat Lazarus as lower than himself by asking Abraham to get Lazarus to come serve him or at least go as a messenger to his own people. He still does not SEE anyone but himself (and his own). Because the rich man’s vision is narrow, his heart is small.
It is hard to really SEE. It will mean that our hearts will need to become bigger and enlarging our hearts is sometimes painful. If the rich man had opened his gate, he would have had to deal with the disparity between him and his neighbour and that is uncomfortable. It means there might be a problem with our comfort and we would rather not think about that. It points towards dispelling our myths that we are in control—this could be me! Of course, we would rather not see dogs licking sores—it is disturbing and upsetting. Poverty is always more complex than a lack of money. It is often about family systems, addiction, mental health, and systemic evil and oppression in our society like racism and prejudice. These are not fun things to see.
Jesus is calling the wealthy (us) to SEE the poor. Jesus is calling us to see the people around us—to really SEE them and respond. Jesus invites us to live with enlarged hearts. He has actually built us to have hearts that grow and expand. Lean into seeing. Having stretched hearts is what we are made for.
Lord Jesus, what and who would you have me really see today?
Lenten Reader 2018
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