Monthly Archives: October 2013

Good things are still good things, even when they’re not best things

We in Christendom sometimes get a bit over excited about chasing after best things and look down upon ourselves when we want good things, deep inside.

This doesn’t help. We’re supposed to hold the good things that this world offers with open hands, knowing that they’ve been given to us for a season, and ready to drop them for better things – but that doesn’t mean that we’re not built to want good things. In fact, when we have a proper understanding of good things, we’re better able to drop them for best things. When I know that life has feasts, the fasts don’t seem so terrible. When I remember that we’re promised a great place to live in eternity, I can both enjoy and not stress about my current living conditions.

Temporal things are meant to reflect eternal things. Each of us is a lamp, made to reflect Light Himself. The love in our lives is supposed to reflect the love of Christ in our hearts. Good things are good!!

Yes, we’re all called to follow Christ through whatever suffering shows up. Yes, suffering is part of Christian life. But sometimes we deify suffering and act like every little thing is martyrdom. Really? Stop. People are dying in other countries. Someone snubbed you in the grocery store. That might hurt, but they’re really *really* not the same thing. It doesn’t help your sibling in Christ who is being imprisoned for you to magnify your inconveniences.

We’re supposed to be grateful! Being grateful for what we have been given, marveling in the riches that we have in this temporal world, this is *humility*. If I am grateful and humble about my riches, I’m more likely to think of ways to share them, instead of trying to justify myself in having them in the first place. You don’t need to feel bad about what you have. You didn’t give it to yourself. Steward what you have well, use it in the light of eternity and *get on with it*. It’s the parable of the talents all over again. It’s not that the dude with one talent was just least in gifts, he *hid his talent*. Nope. Not what they’re for. Don’t hide your talents. Use them.

It helps no one to hide what you have, to say that good is evil, to be so overtly religious that you don’t “work with your hands the thing that is good”.

Enjoy the good you have, and keep “ordo amoris” – the order of affections. Being ready to leave everything to serve the Lord doesn’t mean you sit in a dark room loving nothing until He calls you.

And if you’re called to do good things, do them. Cooking a good supper, working an honest day, sewing a fine seam – God calls us to those things, just as He does to fasting, prayer and sacrifice.

Functional Atheism

To the concepts of “Functional Savior” and “Functional Heaven” I think we need to add “Functional Atheism”.

When you have a functional savior, you treat something (or someone) in your life as if they can fix what ails you.

When you have a functional heaven, you are trying to make something here perfect, so that you can be perfectly safe, perfectly happy, perfectly secure.

When you are a functional atheist, although you acknowledge God with your mouth, your actions indicate that you don’t give the least thought to Him or to His laws. That’d be taking the name of the Lord in vain, btw.

Matthew 7:21-27 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’ “Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock. Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. The rain fell, and the [floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell—and great was its fall.”

Am I the only one who quakes at this? I don’t point fingers at individuals, my “fruit inspection”* is a private matter. But the idea that you could mouth allegiance to the Creator and Judge and … and just blow Him off? Not even feel guilty, just get up and do what you’re doing and think it’s all cool? Do you REALLY think that’s how it works?

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Maybe that’s why the word of God calls atheists fools. I wonder what God calls those who pretend they believe and don’t act on it?

I never want to find out.

*hat-tip, Dr. McGee, see the verses immediately previous.