Tuesday, April 29, 2008

true enjoyment of life.

"To enjoy a thing exclusively is commonly to exclude yourself from the true enjoyment of it." Thoreau

My husband and I are returning to a habit we began in Norway of reading aloud to eachother in the evenings. (While there we read the whole of the Lord of the Rings together. I know, we're a bit nerdy.) Last night we began Thoreau's essay entitled "Walking" that contained this quote. It convicts! This morning we read a corresponding passage in Mark. It spoke of the young rich man who obeyed the Judaic Law perfectly but could not bring himself to give all he had to the poor and follow Christ. My husband and I got into a discussion as to whether that is a universal and literal prescription for mankind; that we are to own nothing, and leave all to enter the kingdom, or whether it spoke to a mindset he had about possessions.

To enjoy a thing exclusively is to exclude yourself from the true enjoyment of it.
If you cannot leave all and follow me you will never enter the kingdom of God.

I do not believe that when Christ speaks of the kingdom of God that He is only referring to our after life experiences. I think His kingdom is also something to be entered into here on earth. It is fullness of life and joy. It is the beginning of the redemption of His broken people and land. His laws and teachings all guide us into that life eternal. He says it is hard for a rich man to enter into that kingdom. Relative to global situation we are wildly rich. Should we give away everything and find work with the poor as we intended? Or can we enter into that kingdom if we have hearts that value people over our possessions?

This question is intimately pertinent for us right now as my husband recently began a job in the world of investment banking. *See my post "My Story" for that strange tale. If Christ was speaking of his heart, then we can obey Him fully by having a house (someday) if we have an open doors policy and share empty beds with those emotionally and economically in need. We can make money if we give it away. Basically if we follow the principles from the Beatitudes that if we have two of something and see someone in need we ought to share, and to give to all who ask of us,then perhaps we can live obediently.

What have your experiences been as you have wrestled with these sorts of questions? I would love to hear your stories.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi - found your blog today through At a Hen's Pace. My husband & I are former Res'ers - moved back home to Omaha in '03 after 10+ years at Res.
Definitely relate to the idealism & the surprise at finding yourself in places you never expected. We both had our own visions of our ideal jobs, but we both now work in places we never expected but like more than we thought possible. And while they are not ministry, per se, they have enabled us to use more of our free time & resources for church work, so in that way they have been a real blessing. And who knows what's around the corner - what seems a life long decision now, may not be 5 years from now.

Anyway, I'll be adding your blog to my list. Keep up the great work - I love how blogs allow us to work out these things in christian community.