“Jesus continued. “There once was a very rich man who had the finest things imaginable, living every day enjoying his life of opulent luxury. Outside the gate of his mansion was a poor beggar named Lazarus. He lay there every day, covered with boils, and all the neighborhood dogs would come and lick his open sores. The only food he had to eat was the garbage that the rich man threw away. “One day poor Lazarus died, and the angels of God came and escorted his spirit into paradise. “The day came that the rich man also died. In hell he looked up from his torment and saw Abraham in the distance, and Lazarus was standing beside him in the glory. The rich man shouted, ‘Father Abraham! Father Abraham! Have mercy on me. Send Lazarus to dip his finger in water and come to cool my tongue, for I am in agony in these flames of fire!’ “But Abraham responded, ‘My friend, don’t you remember? While you were alive, you had all you desired. You surrounded yourself in luxury, while Lazarus had nothing. Now Lazarus dwells in the comforts of paradise and you are in agony. Besides, between us is a huge chasm that cannot be bridged, nor can anyone cross from one realm to the other, even if he wanted.’ “The rich man continued, ‘Then let me ask you, Father Abraham, please send Lazarus to my relatives. Tell him to witness to my five brothers and warn them not to end up where I am in this place of torment.’ “Abraham replied, ‘They’ve already had plenty of warning. They have the teachings of Moses and the revelation of the prophets; let them hear them.’ “ ‘What if they’re not listening?’ the rich man added. ‘If someone from the dead were to go and warn them, they would surely repent.’ “Abraham said to him, ‘If they wouldn’t listen to Moses and the prophets, neither would they be convinced if someone were raised from the dead!’ ””
Luke 16:19-31 TPT
I met a young man outside of a QT in Phoenix a few years ago that the Holy Spirit led me to help. I observed him while I was getting gas as he was sitting outside the store. I needed to go inside and buy some things, so I waited to talk to him until I was leaving, but while I was in the store I noticed he came inside and was talking with the cashier. The conversation went something like this, “I bought the drink earlier, and I am getting a refill now.” The cashier replied, “Yeah, I know you already paid for it. I totally trust you. You don’t have to explain yourself to me. I know you would never steal anything.”
I was so excited to hear the cashier’s kind words to the young man, because it seemed so rare back then to find kindness anywhere.
As I was paying for my items, I began to inquire about the young man he had just helped and asked if he knew him. He replied that the guy was homeless and yet he would give away all that he ever got to help anyone around him. He told me that he had never met anyone as genuine and generous as that homeless man. I smiled and told him that the Lord had asked me to stop and meet the young man, and I was really looking forward to hearing his story now.
As I finished paying, I noticed the line was really long behind me, and I apologized to the people for taking so long. When I looked at the faces of the people in line, I remember noticing that they were not angry or annoyed by the wait, but were all perplexed and seemed to be contemplating all that they had been hearing.
When I went outside, I stopped at the young man and asked how he was doing and if there was anything that he needed. I told him that I had lots of snacks that I had purchased inside if he wanted to pick some from the bag. He started to look in the bags and take some. I continued talking and told him about my friend’s baby boy at Phoenix Children’s hospital and how I noticed so many parents there looked exhausted and terribly worried for their children. I could tell that some had not left there for days and that they didn’t have anything to eat or any money to purchase food from the cafeteria. I told him that I wanted to do something to help, but all I could really do was provide a bag of snacks to leave in the waiting room outside the hospital rooms. He immediately stopped looking in the bag and dropped the snacks back in the bag. He looked at me and said, “I can’t take these. Please give them to the families at the hospital.” I realized that I had accidentally given him the impression that it would be wrong to take them from the children’s families, so I explained that there was more than enough and that I would go and get more if needed, but I wanted him to have something good to snack on also. Truthfully, I had spent all that I had on those items that day, and I wanted to help him too, but I didn’t have any money left, so I needed him to take from what I did have to share.
I asked him to tell me his story and how he ended up on the streets of Phoenix. I had no idea what I was about to hear, but I can say that his story was one of the most beautiful and tragic out of all the people that I have met on the streets.
The young man was from Houston Texas, and was a former drug dealer at age 19. He said that he was making so much money selling drugs that he didn’t know what to do with it so he kept getting more drugs and soon he was filling himself full of the drugs daily until one day when he watched himself dying as his spirit stood outside his body. He said that he remembered fading out and then standing next to his own body that was now lifeless on the ground. He said that he was carried away by angels that took him to Jesus. He told me that he didn’t share the story with people because he knew that most would not believe him, because it was so wild. I let him know that I did believe him and knew that he had no reason to make that up. I shared my encounter with the Lord with Him and how it had changed me forever too.
He told me that the Lord would show him people that he was to ask for help from and he would also tell him who he was not to take help from. He said that when people would come over to him and act like they were burdened but felt guilty so they would bring him a dollar as they carried out their armful of sodas and junk food for themselves.
I realized that it was an honor to be able to help anyone that was in need, because God was the One that was being helped and not a scoundrel or whatever negative thoughts fill a person’s head as they see a homeless person in need. This guy may have looked like the poorest man at the QT, but he was the wealthiest man in the entire city, and his seemingly insignificant life was changing hearts and lives every single day for good!!
Just remembering the story today and sharing it has changed my heart back to correct motives and sincere love for others. I hope it does the same for all who read it. May God bless you and your family with the wealth of love and gratitude for all that you have and make your hearts generous towards others.