Here is a story of two men; one was filthy rich and lived lavishly. He lived for the here and now, and he made the most of his life. The other man, Lazarus, had nothing going for him: he was poor, disabled, ill, and tormented by wild dogs. And then suddenly their situations are reversed; death takes the poor man to heaven and the rich to hell.
All around us people are either ignoring death or casting about to find a way to deal with it – and often with unfounded optimism.
Christ told this story to let us know about death and what comes after it. While we can only conjecture, he who cannot lie – and who himself was to return from the grave – has told us clearly and repeatedly that there are only two destinations: that our condition after death will reflect either mercy or judgement. This should motivate us both to listen to and proclaim God’s word.