Luke 16:13-15; 19-31 (NIV)

Open your mind and heart as you read the passage of Scripture aloud and then again quietly to yourself. Listen for God’s word to you.

Spend some time in worship.




Luke 16:13-15
Whenever anyone tries to serve two masters there is bound to be conflict ahead. It is an impossible thing to do. In this example of having both money and God as masters over a life one or other will rise to the top. Jesus does not say people cannot have money and serve God but trying to serve them both will lead to disaster.

A person does not have to be rich to be a slave to money. Greed is a common attribute of life whatever a person’s financial status may be. Someone who serves money will acquire as much as they can for their own benefit and not use it to bless others. Someone who serves God may be wealthy or poor but they will use whatever they have to benefit others with what they have.
The Pharisees belonged to the group of people who loved money. They had no hesitation in rejecting Jesus’ message because it hit home. Whilst they may have appeared to be righteous God knew how they actually felt about Him and about money. God does not use worldly values to judge people’s hearts.

Luke 16:19-31
Jesus told this story which is amongst many recorded by Luke in his Gospel. Some scholars believe Jesus used an actual event in this case as He named the poor man. The rich man was very wealthy. He dressed lavishly and ate fine food. He is traditionally called Dives which means rich.

In contrast, Lazarus was poor and sick. The Latin form of his name is Eleazar – God is my help. Whilst the men lived close to one another the rich man took no notice of the beggar at his gates. In those days people ate with their hands and would wipe them clean on pieces of bread which they then threw away. These were the ‘crumbs’ which Lazarus lived on. Jesus emphasised Lazarus’ misery by His mention of the dogs.

When both men died, Lazarus had no burial, but was carried by the angels to heaven where he was welcomed. It was not his poverty that caused this to happen but his relationship with God. The rich man, on the other hand, had been selfish and self-centred in life and he was buried in the ground, and descended into Hades. Hades seems to be the same as Sheol, the Hebrew name for the place of the dead. It is, however, not hell which is known as Gehanna but seems to be a waiting place until Jesus did His redemptive work on the cross when believers would ascend to heaven and those who reject Him will descend to hell.

Even in death the rich man and Lazarus could still see each other, yet they were just as separate from one another as they had been in life. Now the rich man became the beggar, pleading with Abraham to send Lazarus to ease his discomfort. He still thought of Lazarus as his inferior (his view did not change even in death) and he had a sense of entitlement. It is interesting to note that the rich man knew who Lazarus was, even though he had ignored him for the many years the men had lived so close to one another. Abraham reminds the rich man that he had had everything he needed and wanted in life, but had not shared any of it to prepare for the life to come.

Whilst they could see one another, there was, in fact, a huge gulf between them. Now the rich man pleaded with Abraham to send Lazarus to his family. He cared enough about his brothers to try to prevent them from ending up in the same place of torment where he found himself. But Abraham reminded him the brothers had Moses and the prophets to tell them what was necessary. The rich man insisted that if someone came back from the dead then his brothers would believe. But Abraham knew that not even that would change their minds. No sign would make any difference. The Word of God is all that is needed for people to accept Him. They reject Him by their own choice.


Is it easier for you to give than to receive? Why do you think this is so? How do you respond when you are given an unexpected gift that solves a problem for you? How does being on the receiving end of generosity influence your own attitude to giving?


  • What is your relationship with money? Do you have enough, plenty, too much? Do you long for more? What do you spend more time thinking about – God or how you will attain and spend your money? What indication does this give you which master you are serving? How do you feel about your answer?
  • Jesus teaches that God is less interested in what percentage of your income you are giving to Him than what your heart attitude is in your giving. What does your heart tell you about giving and tithing? How do you give? (Not what do you give but what is your attitude to giving?) Do you budget your giving or do you give spontaneously as a need arises? How do you feel about what is left after you give your 10%? Are you able to be generous with the balance too? Why/why not?
  • Do you give freely and joyfully or is your giving done out of a sense of duty?
  • What is your attitude to the wealthy – and to the poor? Do you see their financial standing as a statement of their relationship with God? What about your own wealth or lack of it? What does it say to you about your relationship with God?
  • What is your reaction to the people you see begging on the side of the road or at the traffic lights? How do you feel when they ring the bell at your gate, or come into the church service during worship? Is your heart filled with compassion or do you ignore them?
  • Abraham was a very wealthy man. What does his presence with Lazarus say to you about wealth and poverty? How do the wealthy man and Abraham differ? (See Genesis 18 for Abraham’s story) How are the two men the same? Which of these two men is closer to the way you live your life and relate to money and to God?
  • What is God saying to you about being more like Abraham and less like the wealthy man in the parable in the way you relate to money? What is He saying to Gracepoint in this regard? If you have any insights please send them to
  • How can the group help you with the struggles you have mentioned during this session?

Pray for one another in regard to the issues that have been raised during your discussion time, for those you know who are struggling financially, and in regard to other needs of the group.

What is God calling you to do in relation to your attitude to money and to Him? How can you put into practice the response to this call this week?


Luke Chapter 16

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