Send Lazarus

Luke 16: 19-31

The deacons of a well-off parish announced that they would give grocery vouchers to strangers who dropped by the church office. The vouchers could be used for food, but were "not valid for alcohol, lottery tickets or tobacco." The congregation was thrilled. Cash handouts were making them uncomfortable. No one wanted to see his greenbacks plunked down at a liquor store; no one wanted to be an enabler. But no one wanted to refuse assistance either, and here was a way to help that really helped. Feeling peevish one day, I asked what a deacon would do if a stranger didn't want groceries but was instead itching to rent The Sound of Music, or tour the city on an air-conditioned bus. What if a guy asks for three bucks for carnations to brighten the corner where he lives--maybe stick 'em in a gin bottle some other church had "enabled" him to buy? The conversation went downhill fast.


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