Of late, I’ve been taking time to put my worldly house in order, performing certain social duties, tending to work and involving myself in issues begging for my attention. This means a certain discipline to sacrifice indulgences and overriding thoughts about “I’d rather be doing anything else but.”
Today, I went to my dentist and barber and followed them with a trip to my local grocery store to fill a small list. There were ordinary items like bananas, yogurt, milk and eggs. I needed some lip balm and vitamins and got them. Sunflower seeds were on the list. Not on my list, shelled pistachios caught my eye and on impulse, I bought them. At 60-years-old, seeds and nuts are happy pleasures intended to overcome damage from those beer and wings years. I think, maybe if I eat enough, I might rectify whatever entropy occurred when I did do everything else.
Everyone has a bit of heaven-on-earth effort residing within. All wish to carve out a little ground for themselves. and we have different ideas of our heaven and ground. This changes with age, but most folks spend effort today to make tomorrow better.
Jesus tells us a story of a certain rich man, who like us, spends effort today to make tomorrow better. and he was very good at it. His “ground yielded plentifully.” The man “thought to himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?’” Bigger barns came the answer.
Here’s the rub — we are the rich man. Yes, we may not be rich, but we are striving to make our tomorrow better, to have our ground yield more. Bigger barns would be nice.
In all my carving, bigger barns tugged me along. My impulses exercised by repeated, unthinking vigor became a sickness. Repetition is tiring and emptiness, a barren, cold hell. Blackie and the Rodeo Kings said it best, “I’m runnin’ out of road. I’m runnin’ out of reason.”
If God is anything, and he is many things, he is persistent. So, he waited. When the road ended, God said, “If you have so sacrificed for your own desire and found nothing, can you not relinquish your old ways and pursue a new life in Christ who offers all you need?”
The Rev. Madeline Carassco Henners, in her moment of revelation while reading scripture, says God spoke to her and said, “I need you to see what you have added and is not here.” Don’t we all add and rationalize while justifying our carving and striving? Don’t we all reason our road?
Christians can agree there is a better tomorrow, a real Heaven not on earth. Our old life road can end. God provides us with so much more than what bigger barns hold.
My real paradox awakened me. I yielded to be “rich toward God.” When I gave up that old life, there was so much more to see.
“Those who have ears to hear, let them hear” (Matthew 11:15, NKJV).