The Rev. Len Browning: Life indeed
November 4, 2011
I have intentionally avoided news of the occupy movement.
Fearing I might be tempted to empathize and knowing that I would definitely be driven to anger over the ignorant youthful zeal and misplaced impassioned activism, I have chosen blissful ignorance.
So, I am not an expert on what is taking place or why the occupy movement is as phenomenal as it has become.
But, I have allowed myself to ask, "What would Jesus do?"
Jesus would do just what he did when he walked this earth and continues to do now through his followers. Jesus would comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.
He would remind the rich that their wealth can get in the way of a right relationship with God. For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. Regardless of your interpretation of this passage, an "easy" life attained through riches can keep us from "needing" God.
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Fortunately for the rich, what is impossible for men is possible with God — rich people can be saved.
Jesus says to the rich, through the Apostle Paul writing to Timothy: "Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy. Instruct them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is life indeed."
Jesus would stress that you can be poor or middle class and still be greedy. Greed is just an excessive desire to possess or acquire more than is needed or necessary. It is an obsession with wealth.
Simply put, some greedy people consider the poor to be those who have as little wealth as they do (or less) and the rich is everyone who has more wealth than I do.
I think Jesus would encourage us all to be content in any circumstance.
Again through Paul writing to Timothy, Jesus tells us: "godliness actually is a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment. For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either. If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content. But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. But flee from these things, you man of God, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance and gentleness."
Jesus was and is consistent. It is not about being rich or poor.
Being thankful, avoiding envy or an entitlement mentality, living responsibly with what you have, working hard, not being dependent on anyone, sharing with others in need and focusing on the future (eternity), that is life indeed.