At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores and longing to eat what fell from the rich man's table. (Luke 16:20)
Years ago I visited New York City with my father. We strolled down 5th Avenue and arrived at the luxurious Trump Tower that houses oversized condos for the wealthy. I pulled out my camera, pointing straight at it. But before I could snap the shot, a homeless man sprung between my lens and the building and stood there, unmoved, blocking my view and invading my psyche. For what felt like minutes, the unkempt man held my eyes hostage.
The moment captured my soul and broke my heart.
Although I have no photograph of the stunning skyscraper, I have a priceless image in my soul of a human face I'll never forget. As the man walked off, I felt like sobbing while fighting a nauseating sense of shame for wanting to photograph luxury while oblivious to the human needs around me. I stood there speechless as my father looked on, both of us grasping the fact that we'd just seen the face of Jesus.
I did not give him money, food, or even a hug; I gave him nothing at all, but he gave me a precious gift. That man with cataract-laden eyes opened my eyes, preaching eloquently without words about God's kingdom and the self-indulgence and absurdity of our world, which included me.
The One who rose from the dead revealed Himself that day in the distressing face of a modern-day Lazarus. May we all heed His call to share with the needy, feed the hungry, and clothe the naked. And one day we'll hear Him say, "What you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me" (Matthew 25:40).
Ponder with me: Has a modern-day Lazarus opened your eyes and stirred your heart to serve? How are you responding to God's call?
Lord Jesus, keep our eyes open to the needs around us, and keep our hearts and hands ready to serve You in the hurting, the poor, and the sick. For the sake of Your name. Amen.
* This is an excerpt from my book, Walking with Jesus in Healthcare (p.177) *
For an opportunity to serve the poor among us, learn about Grace Medical Home, a ministry of service and love through healthcare in Central Florida.