Monday, August 6, 2012

Lots of Stuff

As I mentioned in my previous post I went to San Diego a couple of weeks ago for a work related conference. One of the first days I was there I went for a walk along the boardwalk next to the bay. As I walked along I came upon the yacht pictured to the right. This is an amazing boat and the small picture does not do it justice. This boat looked to be almost as long as a football field although it was probably about 150ft long. As you can see there is a helicopter on the back but what you cannot see is that there is another boat, bigger than most other boats in the harbor, inside this boat. Towards the front of the boat is an area that can apparently open and lower the smaller boat into the water. When I say smaller boat I mean a boat that is probably 30 to 40 feet long. This super yacht as I call it was absolutely beautiful and I feel sure cost north of $10 million.

Now let me share the rest of the story. As I was walking along the boardwalk this super yacht was to my left but to my right was a homeless guy. He was sleeping (or passed out) on the ground under the shade of a tree. It appears that all he had was contained in a backpack and a couple of plastic grocery store bags. It appeared that his possessions included not much more than a couple of changes of clothes, a blanket and a few odd trinkets that they picked somewhere along their travels.

At the time I really did not think about this but after I got home and was remembering some of this the thought hit me. Both of these guys will one day die, as we all will. And both of these guys will leave everything behind, as we all will. One of these guys has been given much and the other has not, at least from my perspective. As I thought about this a passage came to mind. It is the story of the Rich Fool followed by the command to not worry. Take a look and I will continue my thoughts below:
Luke 12: 13-34

The Parable of the Rich Fool

13 Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.”

14 Jesus replied, “Man, who appointed me a judge or an arbiter between you?” 15 Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”

16 And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man produced a good crop. 17 He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’

18 “Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. 19 And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”’

20 “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’

21 “This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God.”

Do Not Worry

22 Then Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. 23 Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. 24 Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! 25 Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? 26 Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?

27 “Consider how the lilies grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 28 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith! 29 And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. 30 For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. 31 But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.

32 “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. 33 Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. 34 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
I am not trying to judge the guy who owned the yacht, he may give millions of dollars to churches and world missions, who knows! What I am saying is that from time to time I think we (mainly me, I write these blogs more for me than anyone else) need to check ourselves and see where our trust is, where our heart is, where our idols are. Are we worshiping created things or the creator, are we storing up treasures on earth or are we setting our minds on heavenly things, are we trusting in our 401k plans or in the provisions of Yahweh Jireh: “The Lord will provide.”

The homeless guy looked as though he had no worries. Although he was asleep he did not have to worry about a mortgage payment, he did not have to worry about a car payment, he did not look as though he missed too many meals either. I think he and others are fed at the local food pantries. I almost wonder if he doesn't sleep better than the rich guy with the yacht. I am sure there are things that this guy worries about on a daily basis but the picture of these two extremely different lifestyles was a powerful image for me.

I want to wrap this up with a passage from Job. After God allowed Satan to take everything from Job we see how Job responded.
Job 1:20, 21

20 At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship 21 and said:

“Naked I came from my mother’s womb,
    and naked I will depart.
The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away;
    may the name of the Lord be praised.”
Job understood that he brought nothing into the world and he will take nothing out. I am not sure I am there yet, I am not sure I could say what Job said nor could I handle myself the way he did. I believe God is taking me, and probably some of you too, through the process of sanctification. He is teaching me and refining me day in and day out. I just hope I am a good student and will be able to say what Paul said at the end of his life:
II Timothy 4: 6-8 - 6 For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time has come for my departure. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day —and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.

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