Monday, April 7, 2008

No U-hauls in Heaven

Ever seen a hearse pulling a U-haul?

A couple thoughts connected with me today from the Old Testament and New Testament passages when reading in my "One year Bible". At least I can see a bit of a parallel between Israel in the Deut 31:20 and the rich man in Luke 12:19. Maybe it's a stretch because I see this principle at work in my life.

Deuteronomy 31:20 For when I bring them into the land flowing with milk and honey, which I swore to their fathers, and they have eaten and are satisfied and become prosperous, then they will turn to other gods and serve them, and spurn Me and break My covenant.

Luke 20:19 And I'll say to myself, "You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry." '
20"But God said to him, 'You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?'
21"This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God."

Times of easy money and good health are an insidious test of character and devotion. The test of prosperity is an obvious one. It's easy to think of examples of when failures during prosperity has lead to fiscal or spiritual poverty. Best not ask me about the 2001 stock market and why I'm not retired early like so many co-workers.

Regarding investing and retirement accounts, I'll just leave you with 2 words, "Adult Supervision."

It may not be so obvious why I call good health a test. It's because I know how chronic pain has blessed me. It took a couple years, but, at some point I began being thankful for the pain. It was something of a mental and emotional wrestling match to get to that point.

The chronic pain I've experienced has definitely been a purifying thing spiritually. Pain has put me (figuratively and literally) on my knees and into led me back to better times in prayer and "the Word."

However, when my posture exercises pay off and my back pain or pinched nerves starts to feel better, I often start a slow drift into spiritual complacency. Similarly when I feel better I'll put off my exercises till later in the day or cut short the exercise on a "good" day. In both cases it catches up with me. Just like the man in Luke 20 I quickly revert to feeling self sufficient and forget to rely on my real source of strength.

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