Thursday, July 24, 2008

Am I one of Paul's Brothers?

I am trying to think who I identify with in the bible. Is it Paul a great letter writer and founder of the christian faith? Or is it more with David a man having ups and down following God, still having His heart. Certainly I am not like Job having everything taken away and to God's glory have it replaced.

No when I read the Bible I identify most with just being another Israelite. Now I am not of Jewish lineage but I am of a christian lineage, with parents, grandparents, great grandparents all good church going people. We all lived in an area of the world that has many people like us, a culture of good church going people. We are weekly told of David, Moses, Paul, Jesus, Peter, Ruth, Elijah. Weekly we are told about the ten commandments, the Lords prayer, the beatitudes, and parables of farming. Through it all it is easy to be zealous for this God that loves us, keeping all the rules and adding more just to help us be pure.

But what good is it that we don't smoke, drink, or shop on Sunday, don't use swear words, mow our lawns on Tuesdays, or wash our cars on Wednesdays? But all this is easy to just be like the people described in Romans 9 and 10, good but not God's. It is easy to miss the point of faith and grace, of Jesus and God. Until today I always thought that Mark 10:17-29 was about having lots of money and being blinded. But maybe it is more general, maybe I am rich with too much good and that is why it is so hard for me to enter the kingdom of heaven.

Oh how hard it is to not eat ice cream on Sunday. Sunday is a day of relaxing, ice cream is a food of relaxing, why oh why must the rule be they do not go together? Maybe that is the point of these rules, to show how hard it is to do on our own to call our attention to God such that we cry out to Him asking Him to fill in that gap, to make us good as we lack the ability to do it ourselves.

The scary part is unlike the Israelites God did not make a promise to my forefather that all of my race will be saved. Israelites whether good or bad are God's, my brothers and I are not. But we have hope and confidence, and all those rules have a new meaning, continually reminding us of God's purity, helping us to not let our weak brothers stumble. But the truth is this whole thing is more basic, Christ, God, eternal life, and bringing heaven to earth is blinded to me by my wealth. Not only my wealth of money but also my wealth of good is keeping me from graping God the way He wants me to.

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