Daily encouragement

Video by

Kat Brown

ACF Devo Team

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Luke 16:26

“And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, in order that those who would pass from here to you may not be able, and none may cross from there to us.”

Behind the Scenes

The writer in me loves the word chasm. Chasm isn’t just another way of saying gap or divide. You can place adjectives like slight or tiny in front of those words: you can have slight gaps and tiny divides. You can’t have a small chasm; that’s an oxymoron. A chasm is a steep-sided rift of great, or even immeasurable, depth. What’s more, the chasm in Luke 16:26 is described as fixed–it’s not going anywhere. And when you read the whole story Jesus is telling the Pharisees here, this fixed chasm becomes extremely distressing. Let me summarize the account.  

There is a rich man and a poor man. The poor man used to beg outside the rich man’s home as dogs licked his sores while the rich man lived in lavish comfort. They both die. The poor man is brought to Abraham’s lap and comforted. The rich man is tormented in hell. In death, the two men’s roles are reversed. Now it is the rich man who begs for the poor man’s finger to be dipped in water and placed on his tongue to provide even just a modicum of relief.

Abraham denies this request, reminding the rich man that while he lived it up on Earth, the poor man suffered. Then comes today’s verse in which Abraham describes the great, fixed chasm between them that is impossible to cross. This story is disturbing. No way around that. But it’s meant to be. The reality of eternal separation from God is beyond dismal.  

Make it Real

Last week’s devos explored the topic of sin–how we are all sinners, and our sin separates us from God. But still, while we live on Earth, though we aren’t in perfect union with God as he intended, we are surrounded by evidence of his goodness. What comes after death, however, is a different story. If Heaven is where we will experience the unimpeded presence and glory of God, Hell is the opposite. It is a place completely devoid of God’s goodness, a place where things like hope, peace, beauty, and kindness are 100% absent.  

Grappling with this reality, with the fixed chasm that stands between eternity with God and eternity separated from him, should motivate our evangelism efforts. This story about the afterlife also points us toward some potential conversation starters we can use with our family and friends. You can ask something as simple as, “What do you think happens to us when we die?” Does that feel like a strange question to you? If your social circle is anything like mine, you probably end up discussing much stranger topics.  

Last week at a neighborhood potluck, we sat in a driveway for hours chatting about international wars, lab-grown meat, global warming, off-the-grid living, zombie apocalypses, aliens, and time travel. When one neighbor asked everyone when they thought Jesus might return, this group from various religious and non-religious backgrounds was happy to keep the chat going with this new query. If you venture to turn a conversation spiritual, you might be surprised by how willing many people are to engage. Here’s a smattering of questions you could consider trying out around the campfire this summer:  

-If talking about childhood/where they’re from: Did you grow up going to church?

-If you’re admiring nature: Do you believe this was created by God?

-If you’re talking about a difficult experience: What gives you peace when life is hard?

-If you’re just catching up: What about your life brings you the most joy?

-If you’re talking about current events: Do you think God really cares about what happens on Earth?

-If you’re talking about media/entertainment: What are you reading right now?

-If you’re swapping life stories: Who has had the biggest impact on your life?  

It doesn’t have to be weird. Many of these questions aren’t spiritual in and of themselves, but they can still give you the opportunity to take the conversation in a spiritual direction and share the role Jesus plays in your life. Try making your own list of questions and challenging yourself to see how many you can work into conversations before the end of summer!

End in Prayer

Father in Heaven, thank you for sending Jesus to bridge the chasm that separated me from you. Holy Spirit, please fill me with a sense of urgency for the people in my life who are still living separated from you. Please give me your heart to see lost people found. Next time I am with unbelievers, please fill me with your peace and help me be bold to share your truth. In Jesus’ name, amen.  

Written by

Hailey Schroeder

ACF Devo Team