I recently ate something that had a profound effect on my life-apparently the life of others thousands of miles away as well. How often does that happen. Imagine that by you eating chocolate it makes the world a better place. I know what your thinking…I got sucked into some huckster selling feel good food at the Saturday market.
I have tasted enough feel good coffee to know that feel-good doesn’t necessarily mean taste-good. However in this case it did. It led me to some thinking. Is it possible for me to fill my cup and not empty someone else’s in the process? Jesus helps us understand that it isn’t wrong to have stuff, but we should never let stuff have us. But in our quest for a better life, a better job, a bigger house, a better car….is it possible to not take advantage of someone else for my benefit? It is if we believe that the Ancient Prophet Micah heard from God when he said “God wants you to know that what he really, really wants from you- is to Live justly, love mercy, and to live in awe that he is God and your not”. (This is my paraphrase of Micah 6:8) These are profound ideas to an ancient culture that transcend even to ours. God doesn’t care what we sacrifice in the name of religion or God. It is all meaningless if we don’t love justice so much that we act out of that desire for it. Apparently God doesn’t want us to be merciful, but to love mercy- and there is a huge difference. Anyone can be merciful every now and again, but to love mercy is to let it saturate every action and spoken word that finds it’s source in our person. And God wants us to know that we are not a deity. Even though we can be so impressed with all we have made – this life, this career, this business, this dream….moments when we feel God-like. The truth is, even if we did create it – it was most likely made possible at someone else’s sweat or disadvantage. God wants us to live with the constant recognition that life is a gift and it matters how we live. If we get rich while others go poor…we have not really gained anything. Jesus reminds me of this in his sacrifice…if it wasn’t good news for everybody, it isn’t good news for anybody.
Doris Longacre writes in her book More with Less
Many who where denied choices in their youth because of poverty or rules seem particularly susceptible later to the pulls of respectability, security, and the good life. Many grew up when ‘can we afford what we need?” was the legitimate question, and they aren’t able to reverse their thinking to ‘do we need what we can afford?’
This is radical. It makes me take inventory of all that I have; love, time, resources, health, and the ability to get more. I wonder if by me having these things…does it make the world a better place. Is it possible, that because I have, that others will be blessed? I guess the answer to that stems from whether or not I feel that statement is better said ‘because I have these things others should be blessed’.
Back to that chocolate bar, that wasn’t really a chocolate bar-but an invitation to a better way of doing economics and pleasure. What if I took that thinking and superimposed it on other aspects of my life.
What if you did?
You are not a nurse, you are an agent of healing and peace.
You are not a plumber you rescue people from their crap
You are not a mother, you are the first glimpse of love to a hungry mind…the first glimpse of what a nurturing God must be like.
You are not a student, you are the future and the hope for a better world.
I am not just a follower of Jesus, I am an invitation (I will let you finish that sentence on your own)
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