Do the rich automatically go to hell when they die? What about the story of Jesus about the rich man and the poor man Lazarus who died?
Jesus has a lot to say about wealth and money. I need to listen to Jesus.
“Then he died, this poor man, and was taken up by the angels to the lap of Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried. In hell and in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham in the distance and Lazarus in his lap. He called out, ‘Father Abraham, mercy! Have mercy! Send Lazarus to dip his finger in water to cool my tongue. I’m in agony in this fire.’ ~Jesus | Luke 16:22-24
In this story, the rich man expensively dressed in the latest fashions. He went about wasting his days in conspicuous consumption. He didn’t care for the poor sitting outside the gate of his mansion. He had the money. He could have helped poor Lazarus. He didn’t. That is what got him sent to hell.
Here is how the story starts out. This is the context: “There was a rich man who would dress in purple and fine linen, feasting lavishly every day.” And “He longed to be filled with what fell from the rich man’s table, but instead the dogs would come and lick his sores.”
It wasn’t that he was rich. It was that he didn’t lift a finger to help the poor and sick that he saw everyday sitting outside his mansion. What about the poor people, homeless and beggars we see. Do we lift a finger to help them?
Jesus makes this clear in another story. Again, it is about what happens when we ignore the poor of the world. If we do, we end up in hell.
Jesus is serious. I must pay attention. I want to hear “Well done, good and faithful slave” when I die and go before Jesus. I don’t want to hear “Depart from me”.
“Then he will also say to those on the left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels! For I was hungry, and you gave me nothing to eat; I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink; I was a stranger and you didn’t take me in; I was naked and you didn’t clothe me, sick and in prison and you didn’t take care of me.’
“Then they too will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or without clothes, or sick, or in prison, and not help you?’
“Then he will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’
“And they will go away into eternal punishment”
Christian Standard Bible. (2017). (Mt 25:41–46). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.