The religious leaders did not like Jesus’ teaching about love and forgiveness. Most of them only cared about their money and power.
Jesus said, “You can’t live for money and try to please God at the same time. You shouldn’t love money and things more than God.
“If people are honest about money matters, it shows that they can be trusted. A person who is honest with their money can also be trusted with bigger things, like taking care of people.”
Jesus showed the Pharisees they must choose between their love of money and their love of God. Which should come first?
Jesus told another story to the people, about the right and wrong ways of living. “There once were two men. One was very rich. The other was very poor and he was called Lazarus. Lazarus was ugly and covered with red sores. He could do nothing but lie on the ground and beg in front of the rich man’s gate. He begged for any crumbs which might be left over from the rich man’s meals. The dogs used to come and lick his sores.
“But the rich man paid no attention to poor and needy people like Lazarus.
He lived selfishly. He wore fine clothes, spent great amounts of money, went to parties and grew fat.
“When Lazarus finally died, the angels came and carried him away. They laid him in Abraham’s arms. There he felt no more pain. He was never hungry again.
“But when the rich man died, he was sent to the place where evil people belong. There he suffered terribly. From where he was, the rich man could look up and see Abraham faraway, with Lazarus by his side.
“Father Abraham! the rich man called out.’Have pity on me, please! Send Lazarus with just a little water so that I can cool my tongue! I’m so thirsty here!’
“But Abraham said, ‘Don’t you remember? During your life you had so many good things, while Lazarus had nothing! Now you’re being punished.’
“The rich man said, ‘Well, could you send Lazarus to warn my five brothers?’
“‘Ah, but they could read the warnings themselves,’ Abraham said. Moses wrote about it and so did the prophets. They all tried to call the people back to God.’ ”
If only the rich man had chosen to change and obey God while he still had the chance. Now it was too late!