Sunday, June 18, 2017

What's hard about life?



This young fellow came to the teacher and asked what he needed to do to finish well.  He was told to love God and obey the rules.  The guy said he'd done all of that, and the teacher told him to prove it, but he couldn't or perhaps wouldn't.  His wealth and position, it seems, had tainted everything in his thinking, his view of himself, his comfort and luxury and future, and he couldn't imagine changing course to a better purpose.

It's hard, the teacher said, for a rich person to finish well. Really hard. Later, the teacher's friends were struggling to understand.  "If that rich fellow can't do it, how can we or anyone?"   There is a way, but it's perhaps not obvious once wealth and class intrude.

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Now if it turns out we're supposed to choose something more, something above self and wealth, what is it?

Just to put things in context, the rich young ruler was at the top of the food chain.  He had position and influence, income and security, pretty much everything he would need for a good long life.  Only a few folks were well off like him and his family.  Apparently, that can be an impediment.

Regular folks have no wealth.  They count on a little business, a successful crop, a healthy herd for getting by day to day.  Kind of like subsistence farmers, perhaps, or the village fisherman of developing countries.  When they pray, "give us this day, bread ...," it's probably for real.

Okay, so we're encouraged to help the poor, the hungry ...  but there's that larger part, we're supposed to follow the teacher.  That's the goal.

It can be extraordinarily difficult to fit the framework of traditional religion on today's world.
"We’re the physical evidence, the tangible proof on this planet that God is good. There’s no higher calling, and there’s no greater truth." -Graham Cooke
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