Thursday, April 28, 2011


Step into the Garden

One thing I ask of the LORD, this is what I seek: That I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to seek him.

When David says, “One thing I ask of the Lord,” what is it, exactly, that one expects him to ask? I should think he would ask God for something relating to his present circumstances; something like, “deliver me from this sickness,” or “help me battle the Philistines,” or “show me how to be a decent king,” et. al. But it was none of these things. His request had nothing to do with the here and now. All David wanted, it seems, was when this was all over, let him spend the rest of eternity in the presence of God.

Then, a curious thing happens . . .

He says that “in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling. He will hide me in the shelter of his presence and set me high upon a rock.” Is King David saying here that it doesn’t really matter what happens to me in this life, the Lord has already taken care of it? He is in absolute control of my threescore and ten. He has and will continue to “set me high on a rock.”

Maybe that’s what is going on for all of us.

Job observed, (and he should know), that “a man is born unto trouble as the sparks fly upward.” Life on this earth seems to engage trouble and conflict and emotional upheaval every day we live on it.

Is David saying, “So what?” God is not unaware of this. He is not asleep, nor is he on a fishing trip somewhere in the mountain streams of heaven. We need not interpret our struggles in life, no matter how severe, as God not caring, or deduce from our pain that God ignores it. From his perspective, we’re ok. WE’RE OK! We can relax with that. God is in control and we will endure.

He is preparing us for the rest of eternity – when he will take us fishing with him. Eternity with God. Perhaps it is there that life really begins. Perhaps it is there that life takes on meaning that we can’t now imagine.

Thursday, April 14, 2011


Step into the Garden

The word from your mouth is more precious to me than thousands of pieces of silver and gold.

I am a child of God, but if I am wise enough to correctly evaluate my own heart, I am as greedy as anyone. Had I not been ‘converted,’ and had circumstances dictated a financial career for me, I may have made Gordon Gekko’s greed pale in comparison.

I can’t think of “thousands of pieces of silver and gold,” without thinking of our current society’s passion for state-run lotteries. Before the state made them legal, they were operated by the underworld, by gangsters. Back then, they were called, “The Numbers Racket.” Running numbers, so called, was a federal crime. It became illegal because it took criminal advantage of people in poverty, who, even though chances of winning were infinitesimal, grasping for riches, would pay from their poverty to win big, thus impoverishing themselves even more. Homes were destroyed. Families went unsupported. Children went unfed.

It is legal today owing to the fact that the revenue of the lotteries is shared -- supposedly. It goes back to the citizens and residents in the form of welfare and infrastructure. Arguably, without the lottery, states would tax even more than they do. So, today, lotteries are perceived as beneficial, and still, someone, usually someone who has no concept of what to do with instant wealth and riches, always wins. “You can’t win unless you play,” has become the mantra of those who indulge – even though the possibilities of winning are infinitesimal, even if one were to live a hundred lifetimes.

It is certain that those who purchase lottery “tickets,” are not doing so for altruistic reasons. They are likely not conscious of where the money goes. It is too irrelevant to care. They want to win. They are tired of poverty. They want relief. The thought of millions placed at their disposal is just too much. “You can’t win unless you play.” So they play . . . and play . . . and play.

Philosophically, perhaps Gekko was right when he said, “Greed is good!” After all, the lottery provides outcomes of state-monitored blessings in the form of those things mentioned above. It is hard to perceive this as “bad.”

The dictionary defines greed as, “excessive or rapacious desire.”

Now then, comes the kicker! Do I have an excessive, or rapacious desire for the Word of God? If the psalmist is to be taken at his word, perhaps he did. He was a king, however. He had more gold in his coffers than he could count. Easy for him to say.

But what about me? It seems there is never enough to pay the bills. Finances are a continual, dripping burden. I experience a constant pressure just to survive! Can I honestly say that I am as greedy for the Word of God? Or more important, does my desire for the Word of God exceed my desire for fiscal survival?

I don’t know how to correctly evaluate my heart. I think I’ll go buy a lottery ticket. Only costs a buck . . . maybe I’ll get two. Maybe I’ll take my Bible.