Thursday, October 09, 2008

The Bloated Life

The financial crisis affecting our nation (and the world) has lead me over the past couple of weeks to speak to the issue of remember our God, who is control, and to keep ourselves focused upon Him. While trying not to get "political" I did try to bring a voice of reason, through God's Word to our present situation.

This week I am planning to look at the area of satisfaction and contentment, which I believe is another key to keeping focused during this chaotic time. I will be drawing my thoughts from 1 Timothy 6:3-21, Paul's directive for careful use of riches for they have the ability to lead us astray. Riches are not bad, but as Paul reminds young Timothy, they seem to have a mind of their own, and therefore we need to move forward proactively, not just in regard as to the use of our money, but in how we live the whole of our lives as followers of Jesus Christ.

In some of my ancillary reading this week I came across a powerful word picture. Albert Haase wrote, "Our lives become stuffed with trifles and trinkets--a visible sign that we are not satisfied. Indeed our stuff lives are like the bloated stomachs of starving children. They betray our hunger, not our satisfaction." ("Coming Home to Your True Self'," p.39)

This statement really grabbed me as I thought out the bloatedness of my life. The stuff that bulges from my life (and garage.) All that "wealth" does not tell the world that I am satisfied and content, but rather that I am starving.

We, as a nation, and as a church, have looked like we are full, happy, and content, but now our true hunger is seen. When we have relied solely upon wealth we bloat like the belly of a child in a refuge camp in Darfur , we make look full, but in gross reality we are beyond empty. We maybe seeing just how bloated we have been, not until this present crisis fully realizing the depth of our hunger.

If there is a "silver lining" to this national trauma, it maybe to call us back to the Bread that can truly satisfy. I know, I for one, am a hungry soul, and I sing with the hymn writer, "Bread of heaven, fill me to I want know more." ("Guide Me O Thou Great Redeemer" Peter Willkims)


trinity said...

Your blog reminded me of a statement I have heard Anthony Bourdain say many times, "That in every great food culture the food was developed out of a necessity." That is not a direct quote, as I watched it and did not read it. But basically he has found that cultures known for good food have had to go through some pretty tough desperate situations/times, where they had to make do and out of that making do they have made great dishes.

Maybe this applies to what you are thinking about. That out of our "desperate" times will come real beauty, and nourishment. Not just in our food, but in life and in our reliance on the basics of what God will provide we will be richly blessed.

Kinda rambling, so I will leave it at that.

Anonymous said...

I agree, necessity is the mother of invention.

A man I worked with used to always say, “Money can’t buy happiness, but it can sure ease the pain.”

Every single person born has a huge, gaping hole in their soul, a deep gnawing hunger for God. Trying to fill that hole with anything but God is an exercise of futility. Even Christians can, however, anesthetize ourselves with the things that money can buy thereby depriving ourselves of a deeper relationship with God.

When and if the glitz and glitter of money can no longer distract, many would be forced to face the horrible, desperate pain caused by separation from God. During the great depression people suddenly forced to face that desperate pain reacted in different ways. Some committed suicide out of desperation. Others who managed to get through the depression spent the rest of their lives feeling insecure and afraid, willing to step on anyone or do anything to make a buck so they would never be hungry again, yet never accumulating enough to feel really secure.

It is my prayer that though times may get tough, no one will experience true physical hunger, but it might do our nation good to have just our basic physical needs met so that we will indeed be forced to address our desperate spiritual need for God.

Because when people are actually physically hungry, the tendency is to focus on physical hunger and desperately search for a way to take care of that physical need, but if the physical appetite is taken care of with no money left over for noisy distractions, many may hear the gentle knock of Jesus, open the door and let the Holy Spirit into their hearts.

In which case, tough financial times might just be a blessing in disguise because the things that money can buy can only ease or dull the pain whereas a relationship with God can heal us, restore us, and truly fulfill us and make us whole.