Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Can you see it?

Don’t store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves don’t break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. The eye is the lamp of the body; so then if your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness! No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You can’t serve God and wealth.
Matthew 6.19-24

You are probably stupid

That’s because people are mostly stupid; or, as the bible calls us: foolish.  And what’s funny about this is that fools are insulted when you call them foolish.  Instead of trying to change – to accept wisdom – fools defend themselves and their perceived insult.  Fools never believe they are fools.  And if you were a fool … you wouldn't even know it. 

It’s human nature to pay attention to the wrong things.  We fear things like war and global warming while we kill each other at an alarming rate in our cars.  You know this is true: cars have killed many times more people in the last 15 years than terrorists, and yet we submit to absurd searches at the airport and drive our cars while texting or otherwise distracted.  It just doesn't make sense. 

Spiritually it’s worse.  We care far more about people’s physical health and welfare than we do about their spiritual welfare.  We all know about cancer, heart disease and AIDS.  But can you even begin to name the top five spiritual diseases?  Today mothers will spend tons of time nurturing their children physically, but not spend a moment actually nurturing their kids spiritually.  The whole nation is in “back to school” mode, and they freak if their kids don’t complete their studies and get into college, but fail miserably to teach their kids the wisdom of proverbs.  They’ll know the California Missions, or the US Presidents, but don’t know the difference between Judah and Israel nor any basic bible knowledge beyond memory verses and “rules.”  We make sure they don’t cuss or take drugs and that they attend church … but never show them what it looks like to love God with all your strength, or to love your neighbor as yourself.  Developing kids physically and educationally is WAY more important to us than teaching them how to be effective servants of Yahweh.

What’s weird is that I can go on like this for a long time, offering scores of examples from this life, the miserable failures of churches and their leaders, “Christian” parents, and name just as many mentions of this fact in the bible – but it won’t matter, because you won’t take action.  You have eyes, but cannot see; ears, but cannot hear.  Always learning, but never able to come to a knowledge of the truth.  You are stupid.

And that’s why Jesus finished up the SOM the way he did.  He knows that the vast majority of people who heard his teachings wouldn't obey.  In the next section he’s going to teach no less than the secret to living without fear, stress and anxiety – priceless gifts – and yet almost no one will actually live it!  We’d rather see counselors and pastors and get hugs from our friends and drugs from our doctor than simply obey the one we call “Lord.”  

I’ll sign off with an example from our world.  A friend sent me this video because he has eyes to see.  He understands that even though this video is about a true story in the physical world, the message is almost exactly the same as the one delivered by every single prophet in history, and even our Lord.  They all brought us a warning and a solution … and we killed them. 

Consider the lessons of this video, as it is a perfect modern parable. 
He who has eyes to see, let him see:

You have a choice at this point in the SOM.  You can feel insulted, or you can think you already know it, or see it as nice words, etc. - or - you can make up your mind to doggedly pursue obedience.  You can take insults and hardships and all of that, and yet go out of your way to obey Jesus.  

Almost all of you will choose your own path.  You'll tell yourselves that you'd never kill a prophet, let alone Jesus.  And you'll live life like a "good" German who lived down the street from a concentration camp but never attempted to stop the slaughter, and comforted yourself with the idea that you never killed anyone.  

 “A man planted a vineyard and rented it out to vine-growers, and went on a journey for a long time.   At the harvest time he sent a slave to the vine-growers, so that they would give him some of the produce of the vineyard; but the vine-growers beat him and sent him away empty-handed.   And he proceeded to send another slave; and they beat him also and treated him shamefully and sent him away empty-handed.
   And he proceeded to send a third; and this one also they wounded and cast out.
The owner of the vineyard said, ‘What shall I do? I will send my beloved son; perhaps they will respect him.’  But when the vine-growers saw him, they reasoned with one another, saying, ‘This is the heir; let us kill him so that the inheritance will be ours.’ So they threw him out of the vineyard and killed him.
Luke 20:9-15

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