If you are normal you might feel torn between the ways of the world we live in and trying hard to live in God’s way. It’s hard because the values of the two are so different.
The world’s way is focused on what we can get for ourselves and the assumption enough is never enough. If some is good, more must be better. In the world we are taught to win at someone else’s expense. God’s way that Jesus teaches is the opposite. Share what you have, care for the poor, feed the hungry, forgive, don’t get even. Love your enemies, and so on.
As soon as we hear things like that we like to protect what we have. One of our favorite tricks in that department is to limit what it means to follow Jesus to things that look religious. So we will tell ourselves all we really need to do is say we believe some things about Jesus without it ever impacting how we live our lives. If that is how we live our faith we often find that it falls flat and we may even start to feel like hypocrites.
Following Jesus is not just about what we believe. It is also very much about how we live. Jesus leads us to live differently than the ways of the world even though we live in it. It’s not our job to change the world. It is only our job to try to be faithful to God’s way of love.
Jesus is not anti-wealth. Jesus is anti-selfishness. It is not a sin to be wealthy. The sin is being wealthy and indifferent to those in need. Wealth brings responsibility with it – to care for those who struggle to simply have enough to eat and make it through each day.
Sometimes we make following Jesus too complex and heady. 1 John 4:7-8 says “Love one another. Love is from God. Whoever loves knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God.” What is confusing about that?
When we care for the poor and hungry, Jesus says we have stored up wealth in heaven. This tells us that for Jesus real wealth is not defined by what we keep for ourselves. Rather it is defined by what we share. It is measured in the lives we touch and lives we get to save when we try to be faithful to God.
It feels good to save lives, to feed hungry children, to help single parent families and the elderly on low, fixed incomes have enough to live. God has given us countless opportunities to make a difference, to matter, to share what we have.
Jesus is right. Living in God’s way by aggressively loving others does make you rich with a wealth we can never lose even in the worst economy. If you’re looking for ways to make a difference and touch lives, click on the “what we do” tab on our website and see where you might fit. Or you can shop for the food pantry wherever you live. If you live in our area, you can bring cans of beans and peas for our partner’s food pantry at Cross. You can let go of the pain of someone who hurt you, you can pack life saving food for people in Haiti who still hurt. There are lots of ways we get to love, ways we choose to live in God’s way even as we live in the world. All we need to do is say “yes” and choose from the countless opportunities we have to show what love looks like.