Tuesday, May 15, 2007
Sad News . . . Jerry Falwell 1933-2007
My heart hurts, but I am reminded of Isaiah 6 where Isaiah saw the Lord high and exalted on the day that Uzziah died. When people we respect pass away, the only proper response is to look to the One who made all of this possible. May Jesus give you peace and comfort as you need it!
“All God’s giants have been weak men, who did great things for God because they reckoned on his being with them.” J. Hudson Taylor
Thanks for reading!
Monday, May 07, 2007
Rich or simple?
“Consider that wonderful world of life in which you are placed, and observe that its great rhythms of birth, growth and death—all the things that really matter—are not in your control. That unhurried process will go forward in its stately beauty, little affected by your anxious fuss. Find out, then, where your treasure really is. Discern substance from accident. Don’t confuse your meals with your life, and your clothes with your body. Don’t lose your head over what perishes. Nearly everything does perish: so face the facts, don’t rush after the transient and unreal. Maintain your soul in quiet dependence on God; don’t worry; don’t mistake what you possess for what you are.” Evelyn Underhill, The House of the Soul and Concerning the Inner Life.
"But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Jesus, Matthew 6:20-21
Live simply, so that others may simply live.
I don’t remember where I first heard that simple little quote about the simple life, but it stuck with me. Not that I understood it or am even capable of properly appropriating and living it, but it stuck with me.
What does it mean?
Sometimes it makes me think of the rich young ruler in Luke 18. You remember the story. This fellow comes to Jesus and asks the important question—“What should I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus gives him a list of the laws—don’t lie, don’t steal, don’t murder, honor your father and mother, etc. The fellow claims that he has done just these things since his youth. Then Jesus starts to meddle.
Yes, Jesus looked into the eyes of the young fellow, looked deep into his heart, and knew just where to hit, just where to wound him.
“Go,” Jesus said, “and sell all of your stuff and give it to the poor. Then come and follow me.”
You know the story—the fellow left crestfallen. His spirit was crushed, his enthusiasm for eternal life was snuffed out, his desire to know the “way” was destroyed.
Well, not really, he left downhearted because he owned a lot of stuff. Or, more precisely, a lot of stuff owned him.
What can we learn here? Well, maybe we can begin to try to discern what we can do without. What is there in the “stuff” of your life that you just really don’t need? TV? Multiple pairs of shoes? Dozens of shirts and pants? More food than a small village can eat? Extra money in a bank account?
Does it feel like meddling?
When I hear the quote “Live simply so that others may simply live,” I am compelled to ask Jesus to look deeply into my rich heart and see what I can do without.
It is a question that causes fear in my heart even as I type the words. Do I really want to know what Jesus wants me to do with my stuff? What if he answers me like the young fellow in Luke 18? Will I walk away with disappointment?
What would happen to the world if the followers of Christ really loved him and his plans more than all of the stuff they had accumulated? What would happen?
What would happen if we loved the people Jesus asks us to love--the oppressed, the poor, the ones we try to avoid? What kind of world would it be if we gave time and treasure to love those that no one else will love?
Paul reminds us that the stuff of this earth is mundane and temporary, and yet we latch onto it as though it were the stuff of life itself (yes, I’m guilty too!).
But I can’t do without my stuff! Can I?
I think most of us in the good old USA could use a bit of discipline—maybe we should abstain from some of the stuff we think we need just to see if we can get along without it. Go one week without something. See if your mind sharpens and your focus becomes more exact.
It won’t be easy—God knows I have so much stuff to surrender that I’m not sure where to start. The payoff however will be worth it.
The less I’m focused here, the more I’ll be focused on what really matters—on Christ and his eternal plans, on following my Lord in loving the ones he loved and doing the things he did. Paul says that those things are long lasting and never wasting away. I need to pry myself loose from my mundane anchors in this world and get my sights set on something bigger and more amazing than the latest edition of CSI or the newest electronic gadget.
To do that requires rigor, discipline, and desire. Are we up to it?
I hope so! We don’t need any more rich young rulers.
May God give me the grace to cut loose the apron strings of this temporary existence so that I may more securely latch on to his unfailing hand.
Thanks for reading!