What is on the other side of your gate?
Luke 16: 19-21
“There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores.”
Jesus tells another parable, again it is to teach about the kingdom.
There are 2 men. They are separated by a gate.
A rich man who lived a life of luxury. He didn’t need a thing. His clothes were expensive ones. His life was one of opulence. His days were full of celebration and rejoicing.
The other man is not rich. Far from it. He has to beg. He is sick. He has sores. Dogs are his friends. He is miserable. He is hungry. He longs for the throw-away food.
Two men separated by a gate.
Around the world the poor live alongside the rich. Those in despair with those who have more delights than they can manage. One street can be rich and the other side of that street can be poor. In my lifetime the world has shrunk, it is reachable now, there is just a gate that separates.
This morning I woke to a text from a friend in Burkina Faso. It doesn’t take long to get to this country, less than 6 hours flight from Paris. It is just the other side of the gate. I woke in the comfort of my home to read the following: “Church planter Y. reported just now that church planter A.C in Gorom Gorom in the north was woken up and forced out of his home late last night by two armed men with guns. As they were leading him out of his home he managed to swiftly escape in the dark and they fired several shot at him but God indeed protected him, the bullets missed him. His family (wife and children) have run away to his in-laws. A.C is now hiding in a different town, where Y is on his way to visit him and bring him support and encouragement.” As I was sleeping last night I had no idea that someone close to me (the Church planter of my friend) was going through the valley of the shadow of death. He is just the other side of my gate, what will I do?
After reading that text and before I began to open the Bible and write this I looked at my news app and something caught my eye. “A BBC investigation has uncovered a secret world of sexual exploitation of children and young women by religious figures. Clerics are grooming vulnerable girls in Iraq and offering them for sex, a controversial religious practice known as ‘pleasure marriage’”. I then read of a painful testimony of a young girl called Rusul, a teenager who ‘married’ too many times to count. My app news brought Rusul into my home. She is the other side of my gate, what will I do?
One thing is important to me is that I never become cocooned into my own world of comfort, provision and small-mindedness.
What’s on the other side of your gate?
Who are those below you? Who are those who have diseases you will never have? Who are the hungry and the destitute? They are on the other side of your gate. Take a look.
The gate that divides. The gate that encloses you into your world. The gate that keeps you focused on self. The gate that makes your world smaller.
Take a look. They are there waiting and hoping.