Todays Scriptures: Gen 47:1 – 26, 1 Cor 9:16 – 27, Mark 6:47 – 56
How often do we refuse to face ourself? To truly see who we are and what we do. I went to a lecture by the well renowned anti-racism advocate Tim Wise yesterday. He said that he had received an email from a person in the USA that struggled with unemployment and hard times. Tim Wise was touched by this email even though the content of it disagreed with some of his own view points on racism. He was touched, he said, by the honesty of it. The man wrote about his weakness, he was honest about his situation. He did not hide the fact that he had “failed” in the eyes of the world.
For many of us, writing a similar email, would be very hard if not impossible. We try to hide our dependence on others. We want to be seen as people who “have it all together”. We feel frustration and emptiness when we can’t afford to buy all the things we should-have-to-be-considered-prosporous-and-successfull. We hide our failures and we do not want to appear weak. Maybe this is why everybody seems to have such perfect lives on Facebook, filled with home cooked dinners, skiing in the Rockies and happy time at the lake. All the time… Many of us choose to run from our sin, shortcomings and failures by way of denial.
So what happens in a crises then? When we can’t run anymore. When the credit limit on the credit card has run out and the bills are still coming? Well, some people (often people who has gotten used to a certain standard of living) jump from a high building because being poor is worse than dying. Some people keep denying what is happening and end up mentally unstable. Some people begin to change their moral code, crimes becomes justifiable.
Then there are people who are honest about their situation and they ask for help. This is hard because you have to admit failure. Some people face their old habits and realize that they can change them to fit a new economic/biological circumstance (and remain happy). Most people are like this. What amazes me though is that so many of us needs to face a crises before we start to evaluate our lives. So many of our decisions and habits are determined by sources we haven’t investigated thoroughly. Why do we “need” a 2500 sq ft house, 3 cars, a boat, golf club membership and a cabin at the lake? We would probably be just as happy with a 1200 sq ft house, 1 car and two bikes, a membership at the local swimming club and an annual visit to the lake. It is about expectation and sense of entitlement. We have been told that this is what will make us happy so many times so we have come to believe it. Of course we have been told by the ones that profit from the increased spending these expectations bring. But if we read more objective statistics we realize soon that the top three things that makes us happy are: 1. Family 2. Larger community (friends) 3. To have a sense of purpose. On the happiness scale money only matters as to fulfill basic biological needs, it’s hard to be happy without those needs.
The problem is that different organizations has transformed our view of what basic biological needs are. Today a basic biological need is having an Ipad, eating out seven times a week and having a car (preferably a new gas guzzling one). Some people actually cut back on true biological needs, like proper diet, to be able to sustain this artificially created picture of what we “need to be happy”…
No, we need to face ourselves. We need to revisit all those habits and “needs” that hides the truth from us. Those habits was not created for our profit but for someone elses. It is hard for the rich to enter the kingdom of heaven.We spend and spend but find no peace just like the prodigal son. And when the money is gone either we deny it and continue to live among the swine. Or we face ourselves and our failure and start the journey home by asking for help. Help is at your door step. Help is closer than you think. Help is running towards you. But a pride heart won’t allow Help to enter. When you allow Help to enter by recognizing that you need Help, this Help will transform you into a truly happy (whole) person. “Wherever He entered, into villages, cities, or the country, they laid the sick in marketplaces, and begged Him that they might just touch the hem of His garment. And as many as touched Him were made well” (Mark 6:56)