October 22, 2008

Hell Is Far Too Often Where The Heart Is

Luke 12:32 "Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. 33 Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. 34 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."

This is such a popular verse within Christian circles and yet it's so challenging to us as it deeply pries into the core of who we are, especially living in developed countries where we're easily enticed by the this multiple choice society. It pulls us one way and then towards another. But I think we'll all agree that it never pulls us towards heaven. I mean, does it? Have any of you been taught by society, or by the mass consumer marketing within it, to drop all that you have, provide for the poor and make the kind of investment that offers a high-yielding gain only once you've died??? No wonder the stock and world markets are crashing, everyone's worried they'll die poor and better get out now before it gets any worse! Jesus' words stand in complete and total opposition to any 401K retirement plan. Maybe I'm missing the point but it seems clear that the only investment worth considering is the one being described in these verses.

Only God is capable of the sort of heart transformation that we're all desperately needing. I feel part of why Christianity appears so boring anymore (both from within it and outside of it) is because so few of us are willing to consider living our lives so as to place all of our hope and all of our treasure in what IS to come, not in what currently exists. Don't misinterpret me, it's really easy to type something that reads in such a way as to imply that I've arrived. In all reality, I'm struggling as much as anyone else to figure out how to follow Jesus with my all. I just don't want anyone thinking that Chad's got it all figured out when, truth be told, we're really no different at all. Actually, we're far too similar. I'm at the point in my walk with Jesus where I'm so hungry to follow Him the way He is calling me. Done playing games. Done messing around. Finished with the half-hearted attempts at living a compromised example of the Master I claim to serve. Frustrated by the reality that some days I honestly want my old life back. Wishing someone would have told me that when you take the "red pill" things get pretty wild and you start looking at life through very different lenses. But I wouldn't change this for the world. I feel so liberated lately. Forced into trusting Jesus is trusting none-the-less.

What I'm getting at is that we call our lives "heaven on earth" when many of us are living our own hells every day. But it wasn't Jesus who offered us the hell we somehow claim as life. He offered us the heaven to come but also a completely fulfilled life while we're here. My aim is to live this life to the full while I'm here, no more time wasted, so that when heaven comes I will have stored up many treasures. I get very excited when I think of treasures as the investments we make in each other. That, quite possibly, because I chose to invest in someone's spiritual life, I might experience the "treasure" of spending all eternity with them. Doesn't get much better than that.

Jesus, please enable us to live the impossible. We can't do it without you. I give up the attempts at trying on my own. Feeble attempts. Replace the temptation to live heaven here with the reality that life is a vapor and that we really only begin to live once we've died. I don't want the treasures that this hellish earth hurls at me. I just want to know you and be known by you. Fill our hearts with mercy for the poor. Show us that we are the poor. Give us the Kingdom and enable us to do what you call us to. Strengthen our brothers and sisters that are suffering daily on Your behalf.

(P.S. the pictures taken were from my recent trip to the Dominican Republic this past summer)


I am but one small instrument. said...

Where were these pictures taken?

Chad Johnson said...

Hey Christina! I meant to post a note at the bottom of this blog (which I just did) but the pictures were taken on my trip to the Dominican Republic this summer. The trip blew my mind and God really used it to challenge me in so many ways. Thanks for asking.

Nathan Mallon said...

Great post Chad, more proof that we are in a daily battle, to fight the "fight of faith", b/c there are so many distractions and things the world distorts as "treasure".