I’ve had a couple of different quotes rolling over in my head for the last week or so…I’m trying to make some sense of them.
“The good life of God is a life that empties itself on behalf of others“–Tom Sine
“No…I don’t think you’re that much different than we are…I mean, you’re getting more stuff–better stuff…living more responsibly in society. That’s what we’re all doing, right?”—Anonymous (but said to me a couple of years back as I was trying to live very radically in my ‘knowing of God’)
And there’s the tension between the kingdom life, a life that was described as one the empties itself, prefers others, seeks not its own good, and seeks to offer up rather than intake…and then of course there’s the life of fallen and broken false selves. All about getting more, acquiring more, having more and better.
I’ve been thinking about how this tension can be seen in the desert temptations of Jesus. All of the things that the Satan offers Jesus are positive things…even kingdom things…they involve love of God, love of others, etc…THE END IS GOOD. But the means required consumptive “getting”. The method is the message, and Jesus knew that. He knew that the means to the good life defines the good life. And so He says “No thanks” to the temptations in the desert.
But how often are we in the same situation?
A good world…it just involves another purchase… A better hope for all of us…it just requires me acquiring another unnecessary item (which always seems indispensable in my immediate pursuit of God, neighbor, or environment). And in the end, all of I’ve done in my radical attempts to reach a happier ending is develop a new kind of consumption. Better. Kinder. Makes me feel more altruistic and benevolent. But…just more padding for my preferred life style–middle class ME.
It’s just so easy to get sucked into consumerism for the sake of the kingdom. And that’s what the temptation in the desert was all about. Getting for God.
And I can’t help but reflect on that first quote and wonder if all the acquisitions in the world don’t just add up to another step away from God’s good life…a life of giving away…of emptiness…of letting go.
Maybe we need P.H level evaluations for living..little quizzes at the end of the day for evaluating a life of being spent or of spending. I don’t know…honestly…still, it’s troubling.
Anyhow…thanks for letting me voice my current thoughts.
Filed under: confession, kingdom | Tagged: consumerism, dominant regime, empire, kingdom, kingdom of God, middle class, redistribution, rich young ruler, sermon on the mount, temptations of Jesus, Tom Sine | 1 Comment »