BEFORE HAND, TALK:
Luke’s Gospel repeatedly emphasizes Jesus’ call to care for the poor. In this instance, Jesus tells a parable to his disciples and the religious leaders (Pharisees). The rich man in this story never truly understands his sin, even asking Lazarus to serve him while he is in Hades. Lazarus is the only person named in any of Jesus’ parables. He is, likely, not the same Lazarus whom Jesus raises from the dead in the Gospel of John.
Kids may think that being wealthy is the same as being extra blessed by God. This parable debunks this myth and reminds everyone that money does not equal favor with God. Kids can be encouraged that God is with them when people who have more stuff are unfair to them. Kids can also be challenged to not be like the rich man when they encounter people who have less money, status, or privilege than they do.
TALK ABOUT IT:
-Who can use your help?
-Why did the wealthy man demand service from Lazarus even after death?
-In what ways can wealth and possessions make it difficult to recognize the worth of those in need?
-Each family member should pick a day of the week to act as ‘servant’ and wait upon other family members. Decide ahead of time if each will serve for the entire day, an hour, or for a meal.
-Look for those who may have an unmet need.
-Listen. Who is asking for help?
-Together, decorate a container to fill with outgrown or unused toys and clothes to give away.
-Draw pictures to pass out as get well cards.
-Compare this parable to Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol. What similarities can you find?
Dear Lord, help us recognize those who are in need are not necessarily guilty. Show us that no matter what, people in need should receive our generous help. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.