What does Scrooge and the Rich man in today's gospel have in common? They both had the opportunity to change their lives and only one of them choose to do so. Everyday we see the modern version of Lazarus, and they are as invisible to many of us as Lazarus was to the Unnamed Rich man.
I remember seeing the same woman standing on the corner of Jenison and Oakland holding a sign saying that she had lost everything and needed to support her children. Often I would drive by, just as many other people would drive by, as she stood there hoping. What would come to mind for me was Charles Dickens Christmas Carol and this quote from it: "It is required of every man," the ghost returned, "that the spirit within him should walk abroad among his fellow-men, and travel far and wide; and, if that spirit goes not forth in life, it is condemned to do so after death." So the next time I saw her I made sure that I gave her a little money.
What I did was a tiny bit better than what the Rich man in today's Gospel, had done for Lazarus, but not enough. Lazarus is calling out to us to give the scrapes from our tables. Many, many of us have more than we need, more than we could ever need. Many more live on far, far less than we throw away. Is God calling us to live more simply, live with less? Could we live with less?
It is a tempting idea to live more simply. If we did live simply and gave away what we no longer was using than the idea that we see men and women standing on the corner holding signs that speak of their need would be no more.
Could you live the simple life?