Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Sell it all, Give to the Poor, Follow Me

Matthew 19:21 Jesus said to him, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.”

My heart is grieved. I don't feel a great calling (as of today) to become a missionary or anything, but even if I wanted to, I don't think I could. It feels inappropriate to give the coat off of one’s back when one could actually still be paying it off. Jesus told this rich guy to sell everything, give to the poor, and follow Him. How does that work in America when people could literally sell everything they have and still be in debt (most likely inclused student loans)? I would gladly leave all my junk behind - but I'd still have stuff to pay off (a lot less than most people, I hear.)

Are Americans are in a trap? American Christians bought into the religion of financing; America's middle class and poor can have it all for no payments and interest for a year or low monthly payment for the next 20 years or more. Our worship is financing to the god of capitalism.

How can one follow Christ if, even after selling everything, there is still more to owe? What would a Jubilee look like today? (Leviticus 25)

I fear for my students right now. Some are freshmen and are planning on fully financing their college educations with student loans and are pursuing low wage jobs. One wants to be a teacher - if this student finances 4 years and makes payments on all loans after graduating, more than 1/2 of their salary will go to student loans! They want to go to a Christian school - which is basically going to put their grandchildren into debt so they can teach.

What does God want for this situation - and mine?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The example you have given of students financing college to teach, etc is quite close to my actual experience.

I financed college to eventually teach and coach. After four years, I was $20,000.00 in debt to student loans. I was facing another two years of a credential program at an estimated cost of $16,000. I would start out with a teaching salary of $36,000 average.

In doing the math, it was an easy decision to make. I realized right quick that I'd be better off pumping gas than pursuing a teaching career (well, not quite). It's a sad, sad state of affairs.

This is a micro-example of what is becoming of our society. Those things that have true, meaningful value are lost somewhere between Hollywood and major league sports.

We need to ask the question of what value to compensation really means? If I can catch a ball and run faster than most should I make more money than the person who is changing a person's life for the better?

Once you find that the answer doesn't make sense perhaps you'll do what I did and turn off the t.v. and read a significant work of literature.

As a nation we have lost our moral compass and lack the intestinal fortitude to make changes in our lives that we want to see in the world. We cannot truly expect to represent the best a society can achieve and thereby show leadership to the rest of the world.

Every dollar that a person spends is a vote for what s/he will and will not tolerate in their life and from society at large. Vote wisely.

This is why anti-consumerism is a necessity. It's our most powerful weapon to utilize each and every day to show where we stand and to make our voice really heard. It's definitely more powerful than your vote in the next presidential election.

For me, I'm finding where the true value lies. I'm realizing more meaning in life and I'm able to focus on what really matters in this limited time we have on earth.