Beside Still Waters: Will they remember your name?

Therese Apel

Gladiator. Photo: Canva

He said to them, “You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of others, but God knows your hearts. What people value is highly detestable in God’s sight.” – Luke 16:15

Take a scroll through Facebook or TikTok or any of the social medias today and what do you see? Depending on your algorithms, you may be seeing a lot of focus on getting thinner, getting richer, getting more power or attention or adoration from the opposite sex. It’s a lot of criticism of other people, a lot of vilifying others, and endless accusations.

It gets to where that’s the feed in our brain too. We want to be bigger, better, smarter, richer, more attractive, more righteous, more right… the list goes on.

But you see, none of that is real. The grave mistake we make as we navigate this life on earth is thinking that it’s real. Even as I type that, my brain thought, “Well it’s real enough. You HAVE to pay your bills or they’ll take your house. You HAVE to feed your kids or someone will call CPS…” And all that is true, but when you compare the length of a minute, a day, a year, even a lifetime on earth, it’s nothing compared to eternity.

This chapter also tells the story of the rich man (funny enough, he doesn’t have a name in the story) and Lazarus the beggar. It tells us the rich man lived in luxury, while Lazarus lived outside the gate, and longed to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Lazarus was so bad off that the dogs came and licked his sores, we’re told.

But when they both died, Lazarus went to Heaven and the rich man went to Hell. Now, remember that in those days you were judged by your wealth. If you were wealthy, it was assumed that God loved you because you were so blessed. This story did not play well at the time of its original telling, I’m sure.

The rich man was still so arrogant that even in his torment, he still for some reason thought he was better than Lazarus, asking Abraham to send Lazarus to dip his finger in cold water and then come down to Hell and cool the rich man’s tongue with it.

Abraham tells him that he had his chance. In life, he received good things while Lazarus lived a life of torture and sadness. In eternity, Lazarus was treasured and comforted while the rich man was abandoned and alone, thirsty and begging for even a drop of water.

What society prioritizes as important on Earth is probably just about opposite of God’s priority list. Had the rich man helped Lazarus on earth, I wonder what his eternity would have looked like? If he had been generous and loving and kind, what would the difference be? I can tell you that if God’s people had been his priority, he would have been in Heaven, and we would have known his name.

The world tells you an awful lot about what you need to do and have and be in order to be accepted, or even acceptable. Much of it is impossible or takes a lot of work but society tells you the payoff is eternal.

Kindness, mercy, love, compassion, selflessness, generosity, hospitality, forgiveness… those things are hard in a fallen world, but that’s what God is looking for.

One of my favorite lines in a movie is from “Troy,” where Brad Pitt’s character, Achilles, is told by a young boy that he wouldn’t want to fight the opponent Achilles was headed to battle.

Achilles says, “That’s why no one will remember your name.”

On an eternal scale, maybe you don’t want to focus on the things God has told us are important to Him. Maybe you don’t want to fight the armies of darkness that tell us that money, fame, and power are superior to kindness, love, and mercy.

Ask the rich man. That’s why no one will remember your name. ❤️

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