Friday, November 30, 2007

june: this is cheese

Despite fewer posts during the month of June, there is no shortage of impact in this month’s reading of Today at the Mission.
You have no idea how precious these items are.
There’s a scene in the movie Borat where the visitor from Kazakhstan is interviewing the manager of a grocery store. And as he points to an item on the shelf he asks “what is this” and the manager replies “that is cheese.” As he moves down the aisle, pointing to product after product, he asks the same question over and over again, and the answer is always the same: “that is cheese”. You wonder how long the straight-faced Borat can continue in this line of questioning. “But this says Crackers, this is not cheese,” he claims, to which the store manager replies, “no, Crackers is the brand, that is cheese.”

This is the world I know.

In the world of [rhymes with kerouac], every day grocery items like juice, salad, fruit and vegetables are as revered as gold. And truth be told, even after reading this chapter three times, I still have no idea how precious those items are.

And its not that [rkw]’s words lack power – they are most poignant. I’ve seen the plight of the hungry and the homeless on television. Heck, I’ve even volunteered at our local soup kitchen on a few occasions, too. I still have no idea.

Go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven.

While the Gospels often include different stories of Jesus, or recount his actions using different words, the Books of Matthew, Mark and Luke provide nearly identical accounts of Jesus’ encounter with the man who had great wealth… “it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”

And while it’s likely that I am not wealthy by American standards, by worldly standards I am a gazillionaire. Even when I lost my job two years ago, my wife and I never worried about putting food on the table. I just have no idea.

In the past, when I’ve read this passage in the Bible, I thought about what it means to surrender to God… the importance of tithing… not serving two masters… and to be honest, I believe my heart is in the right place most of the time. But today, this passage is talking to me about something else. Being like Jesus means being able to see the world like Jesus does.
It took a considerable amount of time before the clients began to emerge in my mind as individuals. God was asking me to see what he was seeing, and with it, I couldn’t help but begin to feel some of the things he was feeling, too.
And this is where that whole love thing gets tricky. I may be kidding myself, but I think I could give up all of my worldly possessions in a moment. But I have a wife and three children that I love very much. And if my kids want to go to college, I want to help them. And if my wife is hungry, I want to feed her. And if they are cold, I want to put a roof over their heads. And if my daughter wants a pair of Ugg boots, well let's throw those in, too.

Maybe I am just being normal. Or maybe I just have no idea.


Anonymous said...

i have no idea about a lot of things. and so i am relying on the Holy Spirit to teach me a bit at a time. there are many different kinds of need that God sees, and the giving of what God wants to give through me. and i try to remember that i do not really own anything (a lot of the time i just think i do), even all the stuff that is in the garage attic, in my bank account, my life, or the life of my loved ones...nothing is mine. i may take care of it to a certain extent, but, nothing is mine, for everything belongs to God. i think the thing is that i really need to pay a lot more attention to God.

good post, brother!

Anonymous said...

i ment to say that my life belongs to God as well as the life of those that i Love and care for.