In the midst of reading about Jesus breaking various Sabbath ordinations I came to the Sermon on the Plain in Luke, a passage I've read countless times. After the "blessed are the poor" section I read:
But how horrible it will be for those who are rich,
They have had their comfort.
How horrible it will be for those who are well-fed,
They will be hungry.
How horrible it will be for those who are laughing.
They will mourn and cry.
How horrible it will be for you
when everyone says nice things about you.
That's the way their ancestors treated the false prophets.
In Bible Study the other week we talked about humility. We all agreed that we have a craving for people to say nice things about us and recognize us. It's something I struggle with as I have a natural tendency to want to be the center of attention. And my family is definitely rich, comfortable, and well-fed in comparison to the majority of humanity. I know the passage is more about attitude than gross income, but as a whole we are pretty self centered. Just following that passage I read the passage about loving your enemies, giving to everyone who asks you for something, etc. I was reminded of this week in Bible Study when we talked about service and how if you are to be a true Christian it must be a way of life, not an occasional thing. Last Saturday I drove as usual past someone holding a homeless sign with absolutely no intention of sharing my limited cash with someone who may or may not really need it.
Of course I am not advocating that all Christians live a monastic lifestyle and "sell all they have and give it to the poor". There is much scripture about investing wisely and taking care of your family. But just to hit it home a little closer when I told Caitlyn that if the tomato soup stain from lunch didn't come out of her shirt we would have to give it away she asked, "to people who know how to get stains out better than us?" I flinched and fibbed without thinking, "yes." The truth is that probably the clothes we donate are all stained or things I don't wear anymore. I should have just been honest. But something in me must have felt a twinge of guilt knowing that most of our "if someone takes your coat, don't stop him from taking your shirt" revolves around things I could just as easily throw in the trash.