Can A Rich Man Be Saved?
By Fr. Roni Schamoun
In this Sunday Gospel reading Jesus tells us a story of a rich man who was not saved. Now, if the rich man in this story was not saved because he was rich, then Jesus could have said it with only one sentence but instead he tells a story with many details. In fact, if the rich man was not saved because of his wealth, then even the Prophet Abraham would not be in the paradise and the poor man Lazarus at his side because in the book of Genesis it says, “Now Abram was very rich in livestock, silver, and gold” (Gen. 13: 3). Moreover, in the Gospel of Matthew Jesus says that with God wealthy people can be (Matt. 19:24-26).
What is, then, the problem of the rich man that must suffer in the eternal punishment? Jesus’s all teaching including his story of the rich man are the perfect instructive of our lives which includes sharing the temporal blessings with others and expect the heavenly treasure than the earthly reward (Matt. 6: 19-20). Also, Jesus own life is also the perfect guidance which includes to be a servant of God and give praise to Him. The rich man did not have any reason not to help Lazarus with least some bread and water and not to give thanks to God, this is exactly what the wealthy man failed to do, and so he did not live according to his purpose in life.
If the rich man was ignorant of a thoughtful life while he was alive, he must still come to realization of his actions even after his death and being put in the eternal punishment (Lk. 16: 24). Can a rich man be saved. Yes. Was the rich man in this Gospel reading saved? No.