The Rich Man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31)
“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.
“The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. In Hades, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’
“But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been set in place, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’
“He answered, ‘Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my family, for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’
“Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.’
“‘No, father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’
“He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’”
This was the word I was given on the road to the funeral, as we drove Gerardo's body to the grave. I didn't know if I should share at the service or not, but the timing didn't work so I knew it was for a different audience. We were thankful that our pastor, Tim Hagler, was able to lead it all and Gerardo continued to touch lives.
The story above is one of my favorites. To me, it demonstrates God's eternal justice. Gerardo's life reminded me of this story as I know he did a lot of suffering. More than that, he also did everything he could to ease the suffering of those around him. At times he would earn money translating for Americans visiting the hospital. The doctors, nurses and parents all testified that he used that money to help parents of other kidney patients get bus rides back home and medicine for their children.
We are certain that Gerardo had his heart on eternal things for years now. His suffering began in September, 2008. We were in the USA visiting family, friends and churches. We got a call about Gerardo's condition being very serious. Dave Koch and Jim Faber were here at the time and took him to the only hospital in Honduras that handles renal failure in children. Had it not been for their assistance, Gerardo would likely have left us then.
So tonight at Bible time, I was able to read this story to the children and explain what I thought it meant about Gerardo. For me the story had a lot more to do about the Lazarus/Gerardo similarity than the rich man, but Gerardo also demonstrated what should be done when given "riches" with people suffering around you.
We always remember Gerardo and his selfless life. Gerardo, we love you, so thankful your suffering has ended and you are in the arms of our Lord!