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August 01, 2012

eye of the needle - so you're saying there's a chance

"The rich are at a serious disadvantage spiritually." 

I sat in Sunday school listening to the pastor comment on the brief account of Jesus and the rich young ruler. I though about the rich, most of us sitting there, how we find security, independence, and yes, some degree of happiness, in our possessions. In our labor. In our wealth.

I though about a particular rich young ruler. Well, he's not a ruler, but a friend who came to mind. Only a few weeks ago he said "I just don't see the need in it, this belief. I haven't really thought deeply about God because I never needed to."

I wanted to simultaneously applaud his honesty and consistency (in comparison to those who use god to promote their own agenda) and laugh at his naivety (in the fact that at some point life tends to kick your ass). Conflicted over which way to respond, I said nothing.

Whatever our beliefs, the fact of the matter is that many of us who happen to have been born into this society, in this day and age, with one much less two committed, nurturing, able minded parents, have won the lottery of lotteries. Of all people through the ages, we're rich beyond measure. Some would concede that it's beyond reasonable probability, but I would call it blessed.

I really can't argue with a skeptic. After all, we work hard and live responsibly. We simply act on the opportunities before us. We save ourselves, at least for a while. And we don't need this idea of God to justify helping others with the time and talent and resources that...fortune (?) has bestowed on us.

[Which is a statement no more or less consistent than saying that our lives are blessed.]

Of course this all would be different if father fortune randomly pointed his unknowing finger in another direction. If we woke up wondering whether or not we would eat today. If we befell a tragedy that removed our talents and our multiplied false sense of security. History shows that people are driven to God or to hopelessness.

How can you blame the rich?  We work and play our days away in need of nothing. And genuinely seeking God necessarily costs you at some point. There are things to let go, including the illusion of control. The more you have going for yourself, the more difficult it is to notice divine provision and to loosen the grip. It's legitimately hard, like fitting a camel through the eye of a needle.

With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.

-Mark 10.27

I imagine a small crowd standing in quiet contemplation, chewing on the words of Jesus, when it hits one of his disciples, probably Peter. He looks up and shouts, "So you're saying there's a chance!"

I'm thankful for the blessings, relationships, freedom and joy of being small before God. For choosing hope over skepticism. And for Gods grace, the chance, the small passageway to true life both now and in the future.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Bob - very well said! We are truly blessed beyond measure. God is grace!
Aunt Tiz