Saturday, September 25, 2010

What's Left?

I keep these pictures on my filing cabinet at school.  Their haunting statement sends me a daily reminder of what has been left behind.  See her pain?

This past Monday, as I sat on my clean, pretty green couch in a nice air conditioned house, I watched a sleazy sitcom on my big, shiny TV.  A question blurted out at me, "So, someone must suffer to do good, then?" --A couple arguing.

The thought has plagued me all week.  I'd like to argue that I do plenty of good, even with my shoe collection, down comforter, daily bubble bath...  

Am I really doing good if it doesn't affect my daily comfort?

Is it wrong to be comfortable?

The story of the rich young ruler enters my mind, though I try to push it out. 
        "A man stopped Jesus and asked, ' Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?'
         Jesus said, ' Why do you question me about what's good? God is the One who is good. If you want to enter the life of God, just do what he tells you.'
         The man asked, 'What in particular?'
          Jesus said, ' Don't murder, don't commit adultery, don't steal, don't lie, honor your father and mother, and love your neighbor as you do yourself.'
          The young man said, ' I've done all that. What's left?'
          ' If you want to give it all you've got, ' Jesus replied, ' Go sell your possessions; give everything to the poor. All your wealth will then be in heaven. Then come follow me.'
          That was the last thing the young man expected to hear. And so, crestfallen, he walked away. He was holding on tight to a lot of things, and he couldn't bear to let go.
          As he watched him go, Jesus told his disciples, ' Do you have any idea how difficult it is for the rich to enter God's kingdom? Let me tell you, it's easier to gallop a camel through a needle's eye than for the rich to enter God's kingdom.'
           The disciples were staggered. 'Then who has any chance at all?'
           'Jesus looked hard at them and said, ' No chance at all if you think you can pull it off yourself.  Every chance in the world if you trust God to do it. '
... ' This is the Great Reversal: many of the first ending up last, and the last first.'"
Matthew 16:19-30 The Message

I think Jesus is clear in his message about money.  Matthew 6:24 says," No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money."
Okay, Jesus. I hear you.

Then, should my Christianity be driven out of guilt for what I know is right?

No. It should be driven by love. Love for my Savior, love for those who need help. 

"Christ's love has moved me to such extremes. His love has the first and last word in everything we do. Our firm decision is to work from this focused center: One man died for everyone. That puts everyone in the same boat. He included everyone in his death so that everyone could also be included in his life, a resurrection life, a far better life than people ever lived on their own." 2 Cor 5:14-15 Msg

 I don't know the answer to the question that blared through the TV the other night. 

But maybe, if we just ask God to change our hearts, we can find our joy in helping others and not the comfort we have--that it will be a wish on our heart, and not an obligation formed out of guilt.  That regardless of how much we have, our master is always God, and we serve no other. 

I can identify with the young man who talked to Jesus that day. I follow the commandments, and I've wanted to know, "What's Left?"

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