wealthy

A Lenten Journal: A Pursuit of the Doctrine of Christ (Sixth Wednesday)

“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.

Dawn on the Pier (© John Gresham)

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

Cyprian Bluemood

Order of Saint-Simon of Cyrene

A Lenten Journal: A Pursuit of the Doctrine of Christ (Fifth Tuesday)

Jesus looked steadily at him and he was filled with love for him and he said, “You need to do one thing more.  Go and sell what you own and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come follow me.”    Mark 10:21

Here is evidence of how the lack of human ego can bring us closer to God and each other.  No doubt, our Lord gives a command to this rich young man to sell all he has in exchange for heavenly treasure as the prerequisite for discipleship.  But please take note, Jesus does not give the command out of spite with a wrath-filled warning if he is disobedient.  Jesus looked steadily at him and he was filled with love for him.

Eagle with Fish (© John Gresham)

Why is there no economic justice in the world?  Ego.  Those who demand more from the rich too often do so out of malice instead of mercy.  The rich and those who identify with them feel this malice and resist the wishes of the poor and their advocates.  Of course, the man is too full of his great wealth to obey and follow the far greater Christ.  But, Jesus is able to make the request because the spirit he makes it with.

Seekers of economic justice should do so out of love for the rich as well as the poor, especially since entry into the kingdom of God is far more difficult for the wealthy.  And if they fail to listen to the Lord, let us not be distracted by our lack of this world’s fine possessions.  If we are generous, our little can become more than enough as we build up our wealth in the world to come.

“I feed the poor, I am called a saint.  I ask why the poor have no food, I am called a communist.”  Archbishop Dom Helder Camara  http://www.xaviermissionaries.org/M_Life/NL_Archives/99-N_Lett/BR_Helder_Camara.htm

Your Brother in Christ

Cyprian Bluemood

Order of Saint-Simon of Cyrene