On Tuesday morning the pastors of Lutheran Saints in Ministry gather in Fairborn Ohio to discuss the texts for Sunday.

These are the contributions that are brought to the table.

Monday, September 26, 2016

The Texts for Sunday, October 2nd, the 20th Sunday after the Pentecost, 2016

First Reading: Habakkuk 1:1-4; 2:1-4

1The oracle that the prophet Habakkuk saw.

2O Lord, how long shall I cry for help,
  and you will not listen?
 Or cry to you “Violence!”
  and you will not save?
3Why do you make me see wrongdoing
  and look at trouble?
 Destruction and violence are before me;
  strife and contention arise.
4So the law becomes slack
  and justice never prevails.
 The wicked surround the righteous—
  therefore judgment comes forth perverted.

2:1I will stand at my watchpost,
  and station myself on the rampart;
 I will keep watch to see what he will say to me,
  and what he will answer concerning my complaint.
2Then the Lord answered me and said:
 Write the vision;
  make it plain on tablets,
  so that a runner may read it.
3For there is still a vision for the appointed time;
  it speaks of the end, and does not lie.
 If it seems to tarry, wait for it;
  it will surely come, it will not delay.
4Look at the proud!
  Their spirit is not right in them,
  but the righteous live by their faith.

Psalm: Psalm 37:1-9

1 Do not fret yourself because of evildoers; 
    do not be jealous of those who do wrong.

2 For they shall soon wither like the grass, 
    and like the green grass fade away.

3 Put your trust in the LORD and do good; 
    dwell in the land and feed on its riches.

4 Take delight in the LORD, 
    and he shall give you your heart's desire.

5 Commit your way to the LORD and put your trust in him, 
    and he will bring it to pass.

6 He will make your righteousness as clear as the light 
    and your just dealing as the noonday.

7 Be still before the LORD 
    and wait patiently for him.

8 Do not fret yourself over the one who prospers, 
    the one who succeeds in evil schemes.

9 Refrain from anger, leave rage alone; 
    do not fret yourself; it leads only to evil.

Second Reading: 2 Timothy 1:1-14

1Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, for the sake of the promise of life that is in Christ Jesus,
2To Timothy, my beloved child: 
  Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.

3I am grateful to God—whom I worship with a clear conscience, as my ancestors did—when I remember you constantly in my prayers night and day. 4Recalling your tears, I long to see you so that I may be filled with joy. 5I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that lived first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, lives in you. 6For this reason I remind you to rekindle the gift of God that is within you through the laying on of my hands; 7for God did not give us a spirit of cowardice, but rather a spirit of power and of love and of self-discipline.
8Do not be ashamed, then, of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner, but join with me in suffering for the gospel, relying on the power of God, 9who saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works but according to his own purpose and grace. This grace was given to us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, 10but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. 11For this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher, 12and for this reason I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, for I know the one in whom I have put my trust, and I am sure that he is able to guard until that day what I have entrusted to him. 13Hold to the standard of sound teaching that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 14Guard the good treasure entrusted to you, with the help of the Holy Spirit living in us.

Gospel: Luke 17:5-10

5The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” 6The Lord replied, “If you had faith the size of a mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.

7“Who among you would say to your slave who has just come in from plowing or tending sheep in the field, ‘Come here at once and take your place at the table’? 8Would you not rather say to him, ‘Prepare supper for me, put on your apron and serve me while I eat and drink; later you may eat and drink’? 9Do you thank the slave for doing what was commanded? 10So you also, when you have done all that you were ordered to do, say, ‘We are worthless slaves; we have done only what we ought to have done!’ ”

The Greek Text of Luke 17:5-10

Luke 17:5-10

v5 Luke links an independent saying of Jesus on faith with what is virtually an editorial comment. He uses the post-resurrection title for Jesus, namely, "the Lord" and the official title for the twelve, "the apostles." The nature of the request is somewhat unclear, but is usually interpreted along the line of the apostles asking for the "faith", as in the sense of spiritual strength, to forgive unconditionally, cf. v4. So προσθες  ιs usually translated as "increase", ie. "bolster up our capacity to forgive." The trouble is that we end up with a strange usage of πιστις, "faith", and a rather unconvincing translation of προστιθημι, which properly takes the sense "to give, provide, grant." So, what point is Luke making? Faith is the only "yoke" to place on "the little ones." The disciples have been warned of the Pharisees self-righteous law-obedience and the danger this poses for God's "little ones." Christ's demand for unconditional forgiveness (the standard was 3 times, but for Jesus even 7 times in a day) exposes the folly of a righteousness based on works. Luke, if not a colleague of Paul, at least seems tuned to Paul's understanding of Jesus' teaching on the means of grace. 
τω κυριω (ος) dat. "[said] to the Lord" - Dative of indirect object.
προσθες (προστιθημι) aor. imp. "increase" - add to. Numerous meanings are possible: "give us faith", BAGD.; "give us also faith", Creed, in the sense of "add faith to our other gifts"; "bestow upon us more faith", Creed; "give us a greater faith than we already have", Stein. Best taken as "grant us faith", Evans; see above.
ημιν dat. pro. "our [faith]" - [faith] for us. Probably best read as a dative of interest, advantage.

v6 σιναπεως (ι εως) gen. "a mustard [seed]" - [a grain] of mustard. The genitive is adjectival, attributive.
τη συκαμινω (ος) dat. "[you can say] to this mulberry tree" - Dative of indirect object.
υπηκουσεν αν aor. "it will obey [you]" - it would have obeyed [to you]. The aorist may express time before the command indicating "the certainty of (the command's) fulfilment".

v7 τις δε ..... ος ... επει (ειπον) fut. "suppose one .... Would he say ..?" - who [among you having a slave who [coming in from the field] will say? The construction is emphatic and expects the answer, "no one would ever say this to a slave." Taken as setting up a rhetorical question, which feature is lost in the complexity of the sentence, the verb to-be must be supplied; "is there anyone among you, having a slave ....... who, when he comes in from the field, will say to him ....?" Verses 8 and 9 are also best translated as rhetorical questions, TNT.
δουλον (ος) "servant" - Not really a servant, but rather "a slave", TNT.
αροτριωντα (αροτριαω) pres. part. "plowing [or looking after the sheep]" - plowing [or shepherding]. The participle, as with "shepherding", functions as the complement of the object "servant", forming an object complement double accusative (here treble) construction.
εισελθοντι (εισερχομαι) dat. aor. part. "when he comes in" - having come in. technically, standing in agreement with αυτω "him = the servant".
παρελθων (παρερχομαι) aor. part. "come along now [and sit down to eat]" - having come beside [lie down]. Attendant circumstance participle expressing action accompanying the imperatival verb "sit down." As in sitting down for a meal, although in their case, they would lie down to eat.

v8 ουχι ερει (ειπον) fut. "would he not [rather] say" - a deliberative future setting up a second rhetorical question that expects a positive answer.
ετοιμασον (ετοιμαζω) aor. imp. "prepare" δειπνησω (δειπνεω) aor. subj. fut. ind. "my supper" - probably being used to form a purpose clause, "in order that I may eat."
περιζωσαμενος (περιζωννιμι) aor. part. having wrapped about yourself - in the sense of putting on a serving apron. 
διακονει (διακονεω) pres. imp. wait on "serve me until I have finished".
v9 χαριν (ις εως) "thank" gratitude due a τω δουλω (ος) dat. "the servant".
τα διαταχθεντα (διατασσω) aor. pas. part. "what he was told to do" - assigned, arranged, commanded. 

v10 τα διαταχωθεντα (διατασσω) aor. pas. part. "were told to do" - the things having been commanded, instructed, assigned. The participle is adjectival, attributive, limiting παντα "all the things".
λεγετε (λεγω) pres. imp. "should say" – Actually "think" so an idiom; "you ought to remind yourself of this truth."
αχρειοι adj. "[we are] unworthy [servants]" - useless, troublesome, unprofitable. In a negative sense it may describe a slave who has done no more than was required, "we're not much good as servants as we have only done what we ought to do", or taking a positive sense, it may describe modesty, "we are servants and deserve no credit". A weaker sense, namely "unworthy", seems best. "Believers are unworthy in the sense that at their very best all they have done is what they should have done, i.e. what the commandments teach.
πεποιηκαμεν (ποιεω) perf. "we have only done" - perfect tense expressing a past act with ongoing consequences.

ποιησαι (ποιεω) aor. inf. "[our duty]" - infinitive is complementary, completing the sense of the verb "to work."

As Long as we Live we Must Work

As long as we live we must work. Know that you are a servant overcome by much obedience. You must not set yourself first because you are called a son of God. Grace must be acknowledged, but nature not over looked. Do not boast of yourself if you have served well, as you should have done. The sun obeys the moon complies, and the angels serve. Let us not require praise from ourselves nor prevent the judgement of God nor anticipate the sentence of the Judge but reserve it for its own time and Judge.  —  Ambrose
Somewhere the Gospels recall the episode of a widow at the offering gate. You remember the story: She tosses in 5 cents while other donors came with thousands and had their act recorded carefully by clever use of trumpets and other clever public relations efforts so that their act of giving would be carefully remembered and their generosity and their honor be told at dinner parties, in synagogues, and at their funeral. 
Meanwhile the woman walked away wondering: I have given 5 cents. It means nothing. I hope it was enough. I pray the God of Israel understands this is all I have to give. I hope he will not count me with those who are unfaithful for the meagerness of my gift. 
It is impossible to forget the parable of Lazarus and the rich man once one has heard it. It is a haunting tale. It will, and is meant to, leave the listener with an uneasy feeling. What will I do now? How will I live now? After the parable, Jesus tells them that it will be a Lazarus and the  rich man kind of day for those who teach falsely, a stab at the pharisees no doubt who would have taught the blessedness of the rich man. (17:2)  How will one teach this faith? They were disciples after all. Followers who would one day, they were sure, be elders in the Jesus Faction, tough they were certainly wrong about how that would be. How would they lead, now that Jesus has just told them that they were to be the most forgiving people on the planet? (17:4) What authority does a leader have when he never lays down the law and makes it stick? More about that later.
They ask for more faith and a cryptic saying about the strength of faith as well as a strange parable follow. After that, Luke reminds us that we are still on the road to Jerusalem. Another matter arises: The community of lepers, one a Samaritan, approaches. 
Temptations indeed come. The disciples ought to know. Once they asked the master whether they should call fire down on Samaritan villages who would not receive them. The Lord had rebuked them. Shortly after he had urged them not to be too concerned or impressed that the demons fled before them. Rather, we should rejoice that our names are written in heaven. Yes, back in chapter 10 they were sure they could indeed call down fire on Samaritans. Now they ask for more faith. 
What is faith? What does it mean to the disciples? Is it power? Is it remarkable? Is it carried like a trophy? If you have any faith, what will you do with it? If you have faith, what will that do to you?  Do you have your faith recorded carefully by clever use of trumpets and other clever public relations efforts so that your faith-walk would be carefully remembered and your faithfulness and your obedience be told at dinner parties, in synagogues, and at your funeral?
Those who fall at his feet, as a healed Samaritan will soon do, will be commended that their faith has saved them. That Samaritan was a “foreigner” — a hapax in the New Testament but a word used in the inscription at the entrance from the court of the gentiles to the court of Israel warning “foreigners” not to draw close or otherwise accept that they will be killed for it. The Samaritan “foreigner” now draws close to Jesus because he cannot draw close to the temple. 
How, for pities sake, does faith, whatever it might be, fit with work? After all the parable, if we can call it that, is not about faith but about working for the master. Does Jesus ever commend anyone for keeping the law? Does he not actually tell the rich ruler who has kept the law and prophets since his youth that he lacks one more thing? (Lk 18:18ff) That lacking thing is following Jesus without any other obstacle, not even family (Lk 14)  or riches. (Lk 18) He is invited to follow in submission to Jesus. That, Jesus admits, is a hard shift to make, so hard that it might only be possible with God. (Lk 18) Yet, that act of submitting to Jesus might just be faith — a work of the Holy Spirit. 
What does it do? When Zacchaeus is up in his tree it is not he but the Lord who draw near. Though it is not instantaneous that Jesus’ drawing near works an utter conversion in the man and then, yes, he does works. So, faith and work are somehow connected. The Augsburg Confession is certain of this: 
Also they teach that this faith is bound to bring forth good fruits, and that it is necessary to do good works commanded by God, because of God's will, but that we should not rely on those works to merit justification before God. For remission of sins and justification is apprehended by faith, as also the voice of Christ attests: When ye shall have done all these things, say: We are unprofitable servants. (Luke 17:10) The same is also taught by the Fathers. For Ambrose says: It is ordained of God that he who believes in Christ is saved, freely receiving remission of sins, without works, by faith alone. (AC VI)
Darn it, one of our verses is in this article. “This faith” is brought on by the drawing close of the Holy Spirt. Faith happens in conversion. 
So how, dear pharisees current and former, do you live and lead in this faction of Jesus? The monastic tradition has an answer: get out of the way and while you do this, remove any obstacles to the Holy Ghost that you notice. The saying is Carmelite I believe: “Do good and go away.” It is done by humility. Benedict would write:
1. Revere the simple rules in life, 2. Reject your personal desires, 3. Obey others,  4. Endure affliction  5. Confess you weaknesses.  6.  Practice contentment,  7. Learn self reproach,  8. Obey the common rule,  9.  Understand that silence is golden,  10.  Walk away from the trivial.  11.  Speak simply,  12.  Act humble in appearance. (paraphrase is mine)
Richard Foster summarizes the little way of St. Thérèse, the patron saint of pastors, this way: 
. . . seek out the menial job, welcome unjust criticism, befriend those who annoy us, help those who are ungrateful. (Yes! That does sound like a pastor at work)
The genius of it is simple: The work you do personally makes no difference to you unless it works against the Holy Ghost, then watch out. (Lk 12:10) So you are the abbot? Go to the kitchen and cook when it is your turn. Even Benedict did the farming at his monastery. It’s cold outside and no one wants to deal with wet laundry? What do you do if you are Thérèse? You do it because it has to be done and you doing it might make the life of your sisters a smidgen easier. It is the progressive taking the lowest place day to day. It is called “White Martyrdom” and it is a matter of dying several times a day by humility and love in servitude to others so that obstacles between the other and the Holy are removed and a meeting is now inevitable. 
The warning sign at the entrance to the court of Israel was probably well intentioned and commanded in some way by the Torah. But it is an obstacle that keeps away those who seek God. Worse, it puffed up those who were allowed to enter. The Samaritan Leper finds a place where that obstacle is absent: The feet of Jesus. The disciples must learn that they too have it in them to be obstacles: just ask Bartimaeus. (Lk 18:35) 

The pharisees, however, are obstacle generators and are condemned because of it. (Lk 11:37 - 52) When they praise themselves, have their righteousness recorded carefully by clever use of trumpets and other clever public relations efforts so that their act of giving and obeying would be carefully remembered and their generosity and their honor be told at dinner parties, in synagogues, and at their funeral, they are demeaning the widow whose gift resulted from faith now shaken by the question: Did I do enough? It would be well that a millstone was tied around the neck of their teaching so it can sink quickly into the depth of the sea. 

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Tardy but . . . The Greek Text of Luke 16

Greek Study Luke 16:19-31

v19 ειπεν δε και ετεραν παραβολην "and he spoke another parable” Variant, obviously added to deter a literal interpretation of the story.
ενεδιδυσκετο (ενδιδυσκω) imperf. "who was clothing himself” - imperfect is iterative expressing repeated action: "it was his custom to dress in fine cloths."
ευφραινομενος (ευφραινω) pres. pas. part. "lived" - 

v20 εβαβλητο (βαλλω) pluperf. pas. "was laid" - [expressing the fact that he had been laid there and was still there.
ονοματι (α ατος) dat. "named [Lazarus]" (mercy)
ειλκωμενος (ελκοω) perf. pas. pat. "covered with sores

v21 επιθυμων (επθυμεω) pres. part. "longing" χορτασθηναι (χορταζω) aor. pas. inf. "to eat" - be filled
των πιπτοντων (πιπτω) pres. part. "what fell" - 
ερχομενοι (ερχομαι) pres. mid. part. "[dogs] came…” 
αποθανειν (αποθνησκω) aor. inf. "when [the beggar] died" - with the infinitive απενεχαηναι, "to be carried away" forms a substantive infinitival construction, so "the poor man died and was carried away by the angels and came to be at Abraham's side."

υπαρχων (υπαρχω) pres. part. "where he was [in torment]" - existing [in a state of torment]. 
επαρας (επαιρω) aor. part. "he looked up

v24 φωνησας (φωνεω) aor. part. "so he called [to him]" - he shouted
βαψη (βαπτω) aor. subj. "dip" – baptism come from this root. 
του δακτυλου (ος) gen. "[the tip] of [his] finger" – in υδατος, "water."

v25 απελαβες (απολαμβανω) aor. "you received" - with the sense of "enjoyed".
τα αγαθα "good - the good. 
τα κακα adj. "[Lazarus received] bad things
οδυνασαι (οδυναω) pres. pas. "[you] are in agony" suffering describes the "great reversal" at the day of judgment. Remember the parable is descriptive not prescriptive. The picture of "reversal" in the parable illustrates Jesus' teaching in v14-18. Jesus reveals that the day of judgment will impact the "righteous" (or self-righteous in the Pharisees’ case whose wealth is obviously read as a blessing from the Lord).

v26 εν πασι τουτοις "besides all this" - in all these things
οι θελοντες (θελω) pres. part. "the ones wantingδιαβηναι (διαβαινω) aor. inf. "to go" - infinitive is complementary, completing the sense of the participle "wanting".
v28 γαρ "for [I have five brothers]" - cause/reason.
οπως + subj. "let [him warn]" - a purpose clause; "in order that." "Send him to my fathers house in order that he may warn them.
της βασανου (ος) gen. "of torment" – a "torturous place", as noted above, it is not wise to use this verse to support the idea of perpetual punishment.

v31 ει + ind. "if" - a conditional clause, 1st. class, where the condition is regarded as a reality. The negated verb ουκ ακουουσιν, "do not listen", forms a single word, "disregard"; so "if they disregard Moses and the Prophets, which they do, then ...." 

των προφητων (ης ου) gen. "[they do not listen to Moses and] the Prophets"

Monday, September 19, 2016

The Texts for the 19th Sunday after the Pentecost, September 25th, 2016

First Reading: Amos 6:1a, 4-7

1aAlas for those who are at ease in Zion,
  and for those who feel secure on Mount Samaria,

4Alas for those who lie on beds of ivory,
  and lounge on their couches,
 and eat lambs from the flock,
  and calves from the stall;
5who sing idle songs to the sound of the harp,
  and like David improvise on instruments of music;
6who drink wine from bowls,
  and anoint themselves with the finest oils,
  but are not grieved over the ruin of Joseph!
7Therefore they shall now be the first to go into exile,
  and the revelry of the loungers shall pass away.

Psalm: Psalm 146

1 Hallelujah!
Praise the LORD, O my soul! 
    I will praise the LORD as long as I live;
    I will sing praises to my God while I have my being.

2 Put not your trust in rulers, nor in any child of earth, 
    for there is no help in them.

3 When they breathe their last, they return to earth, 
    and in that day their thoughts perish.

4 Happy are they who have the God of Jacob for their help! 
    whose hope is in the LORD their God;

5 Who made heaven and earth, the seas, and all that is in them; 
    who keeps his promise for ever;

6 Who gives justice to those who are oppressed, 
    and food to those who hunger.

7 The LORD sets the prisoners free;
the LORD opens the eyes of the blind; 
    the LORD lifts up those who are bowed down;

8 The LORD loves the righteous;
the LORD cares for the stranger; 
    he sustains the orphan and widow,
    but frustrates the way of the wicked.

9 The LORD shall reign for ever, 
    your God, O Zion, throughout all generations.

Second Reading: 1 Timothy 6:6-19

6Of course, there is great gain in godliness combined with contentment; 7for we brought nothing into the world, so that we can take nothing out of it; 8but if we have food and clothing, we will be content with these. 9But those who want to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, and in their eagerness to be rich some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pains.

11But as for you, man of God, shun all this; pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, gentleness. 12Fight the good fight of the faith; take hold of the eternal life, to which you were called and for which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. 13In the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who in his testimony before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, I charge you 14to keep the commandment without spot or blame until the manifestation of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15which he will bring about at the right time—he who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords. 16It is he alone who has immortality and dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see; to him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen.
17As for those who in the present age are rich, command them not to be haughty, or to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but rather on God who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. 18They are to do good, to be rich in good works, generous, and ready to share, 19thus storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of the life that really is life.

Gospel: Luke 16:19-31

[Jesus said:] 19“There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. 20And at his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, 21who longed to satisfy his hunger with what fell from the rich man’s table; even the dogs would come and lick his sores. 22The poor man died and was carried away by the angels to be with Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried. 23In Hades, where he was being tormented, he looked up and saw Abraham far away with Lazarus by his side. 24He called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am in agony in these flames.’ 25But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that during your lifetime you received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner evil things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in agony. 26Besides all this, between you and us a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who might want to pass from here to you cannot do so, and no one can cross from there to us.’ 27He said, ‘Then, father, I beg you to send him to my father’s house—28for I have five brothers—that he may warn them, so that they will not also come into this place of torment.’ 29Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; they should listen to them.’ 30He said, ‘No, father Abraham; but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ 31He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’ ”

When doors become chasms

“Blessed are you who are poor,
for the kingdom of God is yours.

Blessed are you who are now hungry,
for you will be satisfied.

Blessed are you who are now weeping,
for you will laugh.

Blessed are you when people hate you,
and when they exclude and insult you,
and denounce your name as evil
on account of the Son of Man.

Rejoice and leap for joy on that day! Behold, your reward will be great in heaven. For their ancestors treated the prophets in the same way.

But woe to you who are rich,
for you have received your consolation.

But woe to you who are filled now,
for you will be hungry.

Woe to you who laugh now,
for you will grieve and weep.

Woe to you when all speak well of you,
for their ancestors treated the false prophets in this way.

 Luke 6

The Rich Man and Lazarus. In the Gospel of Luke, there is a strange sense that today and eternity are intimately connected. The riches of today and the riches of tomorrow are likewise connected. What I have in the here and now might just be discounted against the riches I might have in the there and then and I will be the one who makes the deal that makes it so. The same goes for happiness and consolation, honor and humbleness, even security.
It is not simply riches that are measured against eternity’s bounty, it is all the “stuff” of easy living that we hold dear: Health, long life, honor, martyrdom, sainthood, exceptionality, common man status, right school, right class, right privileged group, snake-handler un- bit for 25 years, Baptist saved on July 4th, Pentecostal attested to be speaking in 24 unknown tongues, Lutheran so humble about faith that he never talked about it. If it is dear to us, it must be measured thoroughly. You will, you WILL, live without it eventually. In the kingdom of God even Lutherans will openly witness to the salvation in Jesus Christ. 
St Ignatius defined the aim of human life this way

[Humanity] has been created to this end:  to praise God, and revere Him, and serving Him finally be saved.  All other things on earth, then, have been created because of [humanity] in order to help [them] reach the end of their creation.  .. 
We should not look for health more than sickness, nor prefer wealth to poverty, honor to contempt,  a long life to a short one.  But, from these.. Choose and desire those that contribute to the achievement of the end. (Ignatius, 1548, note 23, 11, text altered for inclusive language)

All things in this world are tools. They are put there by the Father as providence. The question really is: Has this particular thing be put there “for you?” The sacramental reference is purely intentional. All things, riches and poverty included, must be grasped or laid down when God demands. No exceptions. 
But: what if they are grasped for their own sake? What if they are grasped without thought about how they serve God, and Luther would add (On Christian Liberty, part 3), how they serve the neighbor? 
Answer: They become idols. They become gates. Lazarus lies on one side of that gate. The rich man lies on the other side of that gate. Lazarus is merely lying there. It does not seem that he is even begging. He might be too sick to do so. Will the dust of the earth praise you, O God? (Ps 30) Lazarus is brought so low that he physically does not praise God, neither does the sight of Lazarus lying on the street decaying alive give honor to his God above. Nothing on the other side of the gate gives praise to God either. There is stuff enough to lift Lazarus out of misery and back to bursting into song, praising God like the shepherds leaving the manger, but it is not used that way. On the other side of the gate the fool thinks in his heart there is no God. (Ps 14) That fool would rather bargain with Abraham than call out of the depth to the Lord. And his bargain is strange indeed: Give me water. It is as if he realizes that this is his place, he merely wants to make it more comfortable for himself. 
Gates have a strange effect, they can become chasms, as has happened in this case. But the kingdom seems to have no gates. It has been preached since John and it is being entered “eagerly.” (Lk 16:16) Before it, law and prophets reigned and their word will not pass away. The rich man could have, says Jesus, read the law and the prophets and it should have shown him Lazarus. Yet, the law and the prophets could not storm the gate. They can show Lazarus but only love can lead to Lazarus. That does not make law and prophet invalid. Gates, as defensive structures, tend to be locked from the inside just as hearts are locked from the inside. (Lk 16:15) The faith of Israel has been abandoned like the wife of one’s youth (Malachi 2) for a faith in idols. Law and prophet have been kept outside the gate of the heart, admitted only when it is convenient to the Pharisee whose heart Jesus condemns here.  Adherence to a faith that can have Lazarus lying at the other side of the gate from you, is a faith that has abandoned the first love, the faith of Abraham, for another. It is idolatry, it is adulterous, in a prophetic sense. (Lk 16:18)
He is a shrewd man, this rich man without a name. He has made life comfortable for himself. Now he is negotiating to make hell comfortable as well. And so he starts negotiating . . . with Abraham? Sure, Abraham is the father of those who bargain with God, but this guy seems to be unable to grasp that his negotiation partner ought to be God, not Abraham, not Moses, but God and the Messiah. At some point ought not the call go out: Out of the depth I call to you, Lord be my help? (Ps 130) That call is never made. Do the Pharisees in Luke ever call upon God? (that is a real question and I have no answer) Or do they all merely quote the law and the prophets while the poor who have seen the kingdom in their midst break out in song? Yet, law and prophet cannot do what they must being hindered by the flesh. (Rom 8:3) 

Can the chasm be overcome? One Sabbath-eve a cry comes out: I am getting what I deserve. Jesus, Remember me when you come into your kingdom. The cry that saves. Will the rich man realize this? Will the Pharisees? Will the son of man find faith? Will you call out thus from the other side of the gate?