“The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side.” ~Luke 16:22
Helping the hurting in this world gets us very, very close to the heart of our God. Our God personally identifies with the poor and the needy. His heart is with the most powerless and vulnerable people of our society: the widow, the orphan, and the immigrant. God himself is so closely connected to the poor and the hurting, he personally feels it when you ignore them.
“He who oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker,
but whoever is kind to the needy honors God.” ~Proverbs 14:31
This is a strong statement here. But it’s still just a metaphor, right? Disliking the poor is not exactly the same as disliking God. It’s still just a figure of speech, right?
In case you wanted to use that weak loophole as a way to avoid helping the poor, God himself came to this earth to show us how much he identifies with the helpless. Jesus was born in a livestock trough to poor peasant parents. Jesus lived with the poor and the marginalized. The poor and the hurting were drawn to him.
“Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” ~Luke 9:58
He rode into Jerusalem on a borrowed donkey, he spent his last night with his followers in a borrowed room, and when he was killed they laid him in a borrowed tomb. Apparently, his only possession was a single robe. He didn’t have anything the world valued. And what little he had, was taken away. He was unfairly accused and unjustly tried, beaten on the stand and cruelly tortured, executed with extreme prejudice.
Our God knows. He knows. He identifies with all the nameless and powerless and invisible poor and hurting people in our world. He lived it. This is the very core of who God is and what he’s all about.
He sees Lazarus. God protects Lazarus and provides for him. God loves Lazarus and cares deeply about his situation. And he’s going to fix it. God is a God of justice and he’s making all things right. God is reversing the tip of the scales and he’s bringing his perfect and righteous justice to all people who are injured and abused and ignored by the structures and systems of a fallen world.
God also sees the rich guy and the way he neglects Lazarus. God is aware of all of it. And he’s going to make things right.