Common Bond: Proverbs 22Tuesday, January 22, 2013
today’s reading is from chapter 22
If I think really hard, I can imagine this god who picks and chooses specific people in his creation that he likes more than others. He scours his creation for the people who behave the best; who have proven to him that they deserve more free stuff and perfect lives. Those who aren’t good enough don’t get the free stuff, but end up wandering around in disarray with no god, hope or stuff…
I feel like too many of our churches see the God of the Bible like this, as if material wealth is a tangible indicator that God has blessed certain people who have achieved a certain level of “spiritual maturity.” It’s no wonder many of these same churches have a constant fluctuation of poor people, all looking for an easy road way out of poverty.
I remember being one of those “spiritually mature” believers a few years ago. If someone would have asked me how to be blessed by God, I would have told them that they needed to be filled with the Holy Spirit with the gift of praying in tongues, give at least 10% of their income (before taxes) to the church, come to every church service and never forget to bring their Bible, serve in at least one ministry, submit to their pastors without question, don’t listen to secular music or watch any secular television shows or movies, and the list goes on and on and on.
In reality, it was really easy for me to appear “blessed” when I worked for a church that demanded that I fit this persona. It’s so surreal sometimes because I’d become that person even though it wasn’t who I really was inside. I guess you could say I had a very long out of body experience. Maybe you could call it brainwash. Whoever that person was, he continues to motivate me to never allow myself to become like that again.
Jesus spent His entire ministry on earth being mocked, ridiculed, called a glutton and a drunkard, chased and eventually killed by “spiritually mature” people. Today’s “blessed” Christians reject the very One they claim to serve every time they rattle off their long list of achievements to those who they deem less worthy of a relationship with Jesus. Why? Because they have completely lost site of who Jesus died for.
Verses like Proverbs 22:2 are so important because they tear down this facade of wealthy, healthy, successful = blessed by God. It levels the playing field because it doesn’t matter where you come from. Nothing we achieve enables us to get more of Jesus. You either have Him or you don’t. And when you do, you know what it means to be truly blessed because material stuff becomes small and all the really good stuff like love, mercy, grace, peace, forgiveness… all these things become BIG and more valuable than gold.