Sunday, August 22, 2010

Back in line...

Still pondering the willingness to wait in line as a celebration of plenty. Enough to go around. We can afford to wait our turn. Lines like that celebrate generosity of spirit. “You can go ahead of me. I acknowledge your worth. You are as fully human as I am.”

But Giridharadas invites us further. The common queue is under attack, he says, by greed. How quickly the human spirit moves from celebration of “enough for everyone” to “my time is worth more than yours! And I can prove it by buying my way to the front!”

Recently I’ve had occasion to fly business or first class due to bumps or company-paid tickets. I LOVE skipping the long lines at security checkpoints, check-in and boarding gates. I LOVE to see my luggage first off the plane. At the same time, it bothers me. A lot. Is it humility? Guilt? Why should I receive this fancy treatment (along with bigger seats and better food) while my companions on the journey endure? Some of them are infirm, others are pregnant, and a few may have been on the road for a very long time. But because of money (BP’s money, or other money that allows me to be such a frequent traveler that I get noticed for the bump), I am chosen. Wealth buys me out of the queue, proclaims me as one-who-shouldn’t-have-to-stand-in-line. Wealth allows the illusion of superiority.

Celebration of plenty, of an “enough” that frees us to respect the dignity of others without going hungry for it so quickly gives way to celebration of self. Wealth is not evil. In fact, it is a glorious part of the Kingdom of God. He owns the cattle on a thousand hills. In Him there is “always more where that came from.” But love of wealth—oh how easily that leads to self-satisfied complacency, neglect of God, and indifference to the plight of my sister or brother!

Lord Jesus, You have granted wealth. Oh such wealth! Your love. A long, grand marriage. Admirable children. A big house chock-full of stuff. Income. Early retirement to follow a dream. Faithful friends. Intelligence and creative energy. Depth in Your Word. Training, and opportunities to use it in myriad places and ways. A world (literally) of experiences. Even occasional first-class rides around the world! Please, oh please, save us from greedy presumption and fill us with radical generosity—a freedom to share it, to give it away, to cast it to the winds like a farmer casts seed in the springtime because we know for certain that in You there is plenty more where that came from! Grant us the freedom to overflow with the plenty of Your love.

1 comment:

Susan said...

Ahhh... so true. Especially the air of superiority that often accompanies wealth.