Sunday, December 11, 2011

I Can't Get No Satisfaction

During our last period of heavy rain I made a disappointing discovery.  While making my way across the parking lot at church I felt a damp sensation inside my shoe.  On inspection I found a hole about the size of a dime in the sole of my black dress shoes.

For some reason or another dress shoes don't seem to last me a long time.  It could be that I am somewhat of a fiscal conservative (another way of stating that is to say that I often by cheap shoes).  You see, I find dress shoes at less than $50 quite tempting.  Of course the down side is they seem to wear out entirely too soon.

As soon as I discovered the hole I thought: That's it!  I'm tired of these cheap shoes that don't even last me a year. 

A few days later I was standing in Dillards - in the men's shoe department.  I must say, Dillards has some of the finest looking men's shoes I have ever seen.  However, they cost a bit more than $50.  The pair that I spotted certainly did.  They were black slip-on's - brand name Brass Boot.  On the sole was a sale price of $99.99, certainly not the most expensive shoe but more than what I usually spend. 

I thought: It's time I get some good shoes; dependable shoes; shoes that will last me longer.  So I bought them.

When I got home, I took one last look at my old shoes.  I turned them over to inspect the hole one last time, and to my utter amazement I saw the words Brass Boot.  Yes!  The shoes I had been wearing ( and complaining about!) were the very brand of shoes that I was craving.

It was then that I remembered the words of Solomon:

All things are full of weariness; a man cannot utter it; the eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing.( Eccl 1:8,ESV)

I had been blessed to be wearing a quality pair of shoes - shoes that still developed a hole in them - and I had failed to appreciate it, nor be satisfied.

So here's what I'm going to do.  I'm going to take my old black shoes to the cobbler (shoe repair) and see about getting a new sole put on.  Then I will take the new shoes back and exchange them for a brown pair.  And then and only then will I be perfectly satisfied.

Yeah, right!

Pastor Van

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Inequality - A Fact of Life In a Fallen World

With all the protest in our society concerning economic inequality, I thought that perhaps some thoughts from over one hundred years ago might help us as we think this issue through.  Enjoy!

Inescapable Inequality?—J. C. Ryle (1816 – 1900)

J. C. Ryle was an evangelical Bishop who knew how to apply the teaching of the Scriptures to the society in which people lived. In this extract from his work Practical Religion he challenges the developing ideology which claimed that all men should be equal in wealth. Ryle countered such arguments by demonstrating that inequality is a fact of life in a fallen world and can be an instruction toward challenging character development in the poor and the rich.

Many in every age have disturbed society by stirring up the poor against the rich, and by preaching the popular doctrine that all men ought to be equal. But so long as the world is under the present order of things this universal equality cannot be attained. Those who speak against the vast inequality of men's fates will doubtless never lack an audience; but so long as human nature is what it is, this inequality cannot be prevented.

So long as some are wise and some are foolish-some strong and some weak-some healthy and some diseased–some lazy and some diligent-some prudent and some careless; so long as children reap the fruit of their parent's bad behavior; so long as sun, and rain, and heat, and cold, and wind, and waves, and drought, and plague, and storms are beyond man's control–so there will always be some rich and some poor. All the political order in the world will never erase the fact that, "There will always be poor people in the land." [Deuteronomy 15:11]

Take all the property in our country by force this very day, and divide it equally among the inhabitants. Give every man above the age of twenty an equal portion. Let everyone share and share alike, and begin the world over again. Do this, and see where you would be at the end of fifty years. You would have just come back around to the point where you began. You would find things just as unequal as before. Some would have worked, and some would have been lazy. Some would have always been careless, and some always scheming. Some would have sold, and others would have bought. Some would have wasted, and others would have saved. And the end would be that some would be rich and others poor.

Let no one listen to those vain and foolish talkers who say that all men were meant to be equal. They might as well tell you that all men ought to be of the same height, weight, strength, and skill–or that all oak trees ought to be of the same shape and size–or that all blades of grass ought to always be the same length.

Settle it in your mind that the main cause of all the suffering you see around you is sin. Sin is the great cause of the enormous luxury of the rich, and the painful degradation of the poor–of the heartless selfishness of the highest classes, and the helpless poverty of the lowest class. Sin must first be cast out of the world. The hearts of all men must be renewed and sanctified. The devil must be locked away. The Prince of Peace must come down and take His great power and reign. All this must be done before there can ever be universal happiness, or the gulf filled up that now divides the rich and the poor.

Beware of expecting a millennium to be brought about by any method of government, by any system of education, or by any political party. Work hard to do good to all men. Pity the poor, and help in every reasonable endeavor to raise them from their life of poverty. Seek to help to increase knowledge, to promote morality, and to improve the earthly condition of the poor. But never, never forget that you live in a fallen world, that sin is all around you, and that the devil and the demons are everywhere. And be very sure that the rich man and Lazarus are emblems of two classes, which will always be in the world until the Lord returns.

 (Cited from Kairos Journal)

Pastor Van