Livin’ the Dream
For you had compassion on those in prison, and you joyfully accepted the plundering of your property, since you knew that you yourselves had a better possession… Hebrews 10:34
These early Christians were odd folk. They were happy in their suffering. They joyfully accepted persecution and did not fight back when others stole their stuff. They were thankful for their trials. Like I said, odd.
I am generally not thankful for trials. I am thankful for stuff. I thank God for my car, my house and my boat. When I encounter trials, I don’t thank God for them, I ask him to fix them.
It is the American dream to live the good life. I work hard and I want to enjoy my stuff. Then Jesus comes along and says, Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God (Luke 6:20). Why would He say this? Is Jesus not on board with the American dream?
When I hear people thank God for all the blessings we have in this country, I chime in. I like it here. I do however, have deep suspicions that my success and self-sufficiency have not always been the blessings I thought they were. What if my stuff distracts from the most important things in life? What if the pursuit of stuff is actually the pursuit of self, masquerading as something good, while distracting me from the pursuit of God?
Those early Christians considered their relationship with God their greatest possession. They had such a spiritual mindset that they did not worry about stuff. They identified with those in prison as they possessed nothing worldly but were richer than any king in their relationship with God.
Those early Christians had a bizarre view of their worldly possessions that I want to emulate. Don’t get me wrong; I don’t want people to steal my stuff. I do however want to hold my stuff loosely. I do not want to be addicted to my things. I want my relationship with God to be far more important than any trinket could ever be. I want my life to be about the pursuit of God, not stuff.