In the story of the Rich Man and Lazarus (Luke 16.19-31) the un-named rich man was in the torment of Hell because he refused to serve the sick and poor man named Lazarus. Many times we think that it is the poor that benefit from our charity, but according to Gospel, this is not the case. When we feed the hungry their stomach might be filled, but it is our soul that fills with the love of God and enjoys unity with Him. As an alternative, when we refuse to help the poor, while their stomach might remain empty, their soul is filled with the comfort and love of God. It is our soul that remains empty of God’s compassion.
When we serve others, we are expressing our love for God and our soul is rewarded with comfort and welcomed by God. If that is the case, we could also say that serving the poor is actually ministering to OUR soul and is therefore “just as” if not more important the every other parish ministry. Each ministry our Church offers, from HOPE/JOY/GOYA to Sunday School & Greek School; from Parish Council & Philoptochos to Church dinners at which WE eat & serving the poor at which the POOR eat; each of these ministries has the same effect. Our soul grows closer to Jesus Christ, our Lord God and Savior.
The next time you are presented with the opportunity to serve the poor, remember you are preparing your future. Will you serve the poor and experience the comfort and welcome of God, or will you serve yourself and experience torment and loneliness in Heaven? Just don’t forget this one urgent point....the “great chasm” the rests between comfort and torment is created by the choices you make today.