Monday, August 18, 2014

Don't skip the first step

We hear the instructions today.

If you wish to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor

We be so caught up in the idea of selling our stuff that we overlook step one.

υπάγε Go, literally lead yourself away, more specifically down or under.

Before we can sell it we need to move. We need to create some distance. We need to lower ourselves, lower our sense of how much stuff we need, lower our appetite for possessions and power.

It is once more the paradox of the gospel. Normally the best vantage point would be to raise yourself up and look down on the surroundings. As a Christian, the best vantage point is from the bottom looking up. We when look up, we see what is truly important. We fix our eyes on heaven.

The rich young man is caught in the trap that so many of us get caught in. He's climbing, constantly wanting more, thinking he needs all this stuff.

The more we can "go", the more distance we can put between us and our stuff, our job, our title, and even ourselves, the more complete we are.

The word to sell here can also mean to barter or to trade. One piece at a time, trade it all away. If you think of it as trading your earthly stuff for treasure in heaven, maybe it will be easier to cut down the clutter. Imagine your own personal storeroom in heaven. And every time you give away something here. Something eternal and perfect appears there.

Right now a lot of people are doing the ALS ice bucket challenge. Imagine every time you let yourself be doused, more treasure goes into that heavenly storeroom. Give away a bag of clothes, a little more eternal treasure. Give away your time to help someone else, that's a high value one. And when we can give away, even our concern about ourself, then we are complete.

Every day we should look for something, or some piece of ourself we can give away. It is literally a lifelong process. But it starts with a single step, GO, walk away from yourself today. Fix your gaze on God, fix your gaze on your brothers and sisters, and start walking.