Yesterday a pastor in Portland died. He was well loved in the community, was very popular and was known as a good speaker. He lived comfortably with his wife and children. He will be missed.
At the back of his church was Lazarus, a homeless man, often without a coat and eating from dumpsters. It used to be that the pastor would walk by Lazarus every night, pray with him, and ask him when he was going to quit drinking. But he never gave him food or allowed him to sleep inside the church, because that would be "enabling."
It so happened that Lazarus also died yesterday. He was taken to Jesus, who fed him well and cared for him. The pastor, however, was taken to be punished. The pastor was allowed to see Lazarus and he prayed to Jesus, "Lord, this punishment is severe! Couldn't Lazarus come over and give me a little help?"
Jesus replied, "Unfortunately, it isn't allowed for Lazarus to give you any more help than you offered him in his life. Justice requires him to be comforted now and for you to be punished for your damnable apathy."
The pastor prayed again, "Lord, would you please send Lazarus to my congregation! They need to know the truth!"
Jesus replied, "The one good thing you did, pastor, is to give your congregation Bibles. They just need to read my words without the blinders you set on them and they will see this truth clearly. That's the only visitation from a Risen One they need."