Spiritual Director · July 29, 2017

Devote #71

Be grateful for the scraps you have

So today, I read Luke 16, another great chapter in the Bible.

Beginning with verse 19, Jesus talks about a rich guy who lived with no needs. He’s dressed in the finest of clothes, has the most expensive house and only eats the best of food around. Every day he passed by a homeless guy, a beggar, by the name of Lazarus, who was dumped off at the gate of the rich man’s house by his family and friends.

Now get this, Lazarus, this homeless beggar, only asked for the crumbs left over from this rich guys table. You know the scraps, the crust no one wanted, the bones not thoroughly cleaned off of meat—that’s all he asked for, but the rich guy just ignored him day in and day out.

Then one day, both Lazarus and the rich guy die.

Because the rich guy had his reward here on earth, he was destined to hell (and some people say there is no hell.)

Lazarus, on the other hand, because of who he was and what he endured, he was destined for glory.

The rich guy, now, in agonizing pain in the pits of hell looks up to see Lazarus standing with Abraham off in the distance. So he starts begging Abraham to let Lazarus, the homeless beggar, dip his finger in some cool water so that he could cool his tongue.

Please remember, this is the same rich guy who wouldn’t even give the scraps from his table and he wanted the non-recipient of his table scraps to come from the guy he ignored. Isn’t that sweet justice? The rich guy even asked if Lazarus could go back and warn his brothers who were living the same way.

Abraham told him,

“Your brothers can read what Moses and the prophets wrote. They should pay attention to that.” —Luke 16:29

Please don’t get any of this wrong… being rich or being poor doesn’t finalize your flight plan in the end, but it’s your heart that determines your destiny.

Where am I going with this? What I’m really trying to tell you is: be grateful for the scraps you have.

Even if what you have isn’t what you want, be grateful for it. Even if your checking account is low, be grateful for it. Even if your refrigerator is empty, be grateful for it. Be grateful for your scraps because while you’re busy trying to store up everything here on earth the Bible says,

“Abraham answered, ‘My friend, remember that while you lived, you had everything good, and Lazarus had everything bad. Now he is happy, and you are in pain.’” —Luke 16:25

See, while you and I are so busy, down here, trying to build up our riches, we’re really missing the message of our Messiah.

While we’re being stingy and reluctant to help anybody, we’re only placing stumbling blocks in our own way. While we’re being selfish with the blessings God has already given us, we’re blocking any new ones from ever been seen.

I’m not telling you you shouldn’t work to be debt free, or have money in the back, or be able to go where you want to go and do what you want to do, but I will tell you, don’t get so high that you start looking down on people, walking past people who ask for your help or you know need your help. Being rich doesn’t make you better than the next person, your heart does.

Sometimes all someone needs is the scraps that you’re about to throw to the dogs, because although the crumbs may not be much to you, they’re a whole lot more to someone who receives them.

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today

Be grateful for your scraps!

Thank You today for my daily bread. Help me to share it with others. In Jesus name, Amen.

—Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

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Mark was Spiritual Director for VdC from 2016 to 2019. He's written many of the devotions, especially the Devote and Affirm series, found on this website.