“Bah! Humbug!”

On December 3, Pastor Jim preaches on Luke 16:19-31.

This Advent season we are thinking together about Ebenezer Scrooge and his transformation from, as Dickens described him, “a squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous old sinner” into the joyful, dancing soul who opened his heart and his pocketbook to the poor, to his neighbor, and to life. It’s a wonderful story.

As I pondered Scrooge’s journey, I remembered another covetous soul from Scripture. Jesus told a parable about an unnamed rich man and a suffering, sore-covered saint named Lazarus who lay at the rich man’s gate. After the two of them had died, the rich man was not granted a second chance as he stared across the chasm toward Abraham and Lazarus.

In his torment he wanted Lazarus to serve as a kind of Jacob Marley to his five living brothers; to pay them a ghostly visit and warn them. Abraham wasn’t having it. If they wouldn’t repent after hearing the calls for compassion to the poor from Moses and the prophets, they wouldn’t repent even if someone came back from the dead.

And you thought “A Christmas Carol” was scary?

Ebenezer Scrooge: “But you were always a good man of business.”

Jacob Marley: “Mankind was my business! The common welfare was my business; charity, mercy, forbearance, benevolence were all my business. The dealings of my trade were but a drop of water in the comprehensive ocean of my business!