“Many who are first will be last, and the last, first.” Mark 10:31
I often believe that too many of my fellow preachers have slipped into stupid. We have developed a culture of opulence seekers who constantly chase after the best seats, finest attire, most luxurious surroundings and we excuse this sad and pathetic pursuit as “seeking God’s favor.” I can’t help but to wonder if we have paid any attention to the lives of the disciples and, more so, the one who taught them.
These men were not blessed by gaining anything of earthly material value. Not Matthew, who may have been the wealthiest among them as a tax collector. Not even the lowliest of the fishermen. When Jesus said, “Follow Me,” the pursuit of wealth and status for these men was thrown completely out of the window. They all crashed in friends and relatives homes, ate whatever they could afford and made it stretch for thousands of unexpected guest, and had to borrow a donkey to go to Jerusalem. Their lifestyle has little or nothing to do with Steve Harvey suits, chauffeur driven Bentleys, nor a fine hotel room at the conference (complete with cable TV to watch porno movies). We have no right to criticize a secular world bent on greed when we who proclaim to be spiritual seek to wallow in status and wealth.
We are truly blessed and highly favored when we leave the things of this world behind. If you mark your blessings and favor according to the stuff you get in this world, what does that say about what you will gain in the world to come? Indeed, what does that say about your discipleship? The disciples are to gain as much as a hundred times over for the earthly gain they had left behind. The rich young man gained nothing as he was too attached to what he had to give it all up to become a disciple.
Every minister need not take a vow of poverty and live in a monastery. But, we must reject the pursuit of opulence and be content with living simply. Let us only take what is necessary for the journey. For the reward God has for us in the eternal is greater than any “blessing” or “favor” we may receive in the temporal.
Your Brother in Christ
Order of Saint-Simon of Cyrene