November 18, 2011

Spiritual Disciplines XXXVIII: Get Off Your Keister

Injustice In The World

Where I see injustices in this world I try to call them out. Unfortunately, I know that many are beyond my control. I know deep down that God allows them and to some extent, I through the very fact that I can do nothing to avert them, must do the same. I believe sometimes we look at injustices through a very myopic lens and do not see the big picture. We assume we know why things happen and I believe this is arrogant of us to do so. It may be that God does indeed allow injustices to serve a purpose that is unbeknownst to humans. What we endure as injustice may be in reality...discipline.

“My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.” Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. ~Hebrews 12:5-11

We may not like it but it has its roll and purposes. I can speak from experience that not everything in my life has been easy or the primrose path. As a matter of fact I don’t know many that have not at least needed to walk through fire literally and figuratively. Some try to outrun the injustice and others try to endure it. We know that it is always darkest just before the dawn and trials and tribulations will not last forever. Th easiest way through a fire is often to walk directly through it. Believers have been given the promised land and the Promise One and in this we base our hope of future glory. We are transient, like the passing stranger in a turnstile at Ellis Island. Waiting our turn, one at a time after a long journey to see the streets paved with gold. This particular world  is a stop over point and our final destination lies beyond in a land of promise and plenty. We are immigrants here on earth and at some point we will be going on to be with Jesus and find our true home where our true citizenship resides...first in Heaven and then some on the New Earth. In the process of getting there some people will need to struggle more than others.

I try to fix the things where I can but where I cannot I must trust that God allows the injustices to transpire as often and as long as they do to His greater glory. I don’t have to like it I just need to understand that God is sovereign and even He Himself opted for the hard path in His life, why should I expect any different in my life being less then He?

Serving The Poor, The Oppressed & The Needy

Before I converted my attitude towards the needy of society and those that needed help was, “Let someone else do it”. Even after my conversion I was apprehensive about “going out in the streets” to help those less fortunate because I had believed the hype that they were bad people or somehow deserved the condition they were in. But then there was a day that I just sat there and said, “If not me, then who?” These people were not someone else’s burden, they were mine. Their ministry was my responsibility. I got this laid on me heavy by the Holy Spirit. If things around you are not going right and no one is stepping forward to fix the issues, it is perhaps because they are mine/yours to fix? Justice in these situations comes from me…or us. Perhaps the injustices to others are not just others ignoring and neglecting those in need…perhaps the injustices are being perpetrated by me or us out of apathy and ambivalence? We all know the saying from Jesus in the Parable of the Sheep and the Goats and the separation at judgment…He first speaks of those that were righteous and did for others…

“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ Matthew 25:34-40

Then He spoke of those that sat on their “keisters” and did nothing…

“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’ “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’ “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’ “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.” Matthew 25:41-46

When Jesus says truly…you had better be paying attention closely! Sometimes the only thing that allows evil to triumph is for good people to do nothing. Sometimes you need to get off your keister [German-Yiddish word for suitcase] and move! Keister: To the English speaking immigration agents on Ellis Island it meant your buttocks but they didn’t realize that it was the suitcase immigrants came with and not their bottoms/butts they were referring to when they told the immigrants to “get off their keisters.” A phrase eventually morphed to mean “stand up and do something!” It meant to do something productive, not to got on vacation with your suitcase. In a strange way this is the idea behind much of what build America too...sadly, it is very little in effect now. We do not get up and go out to help others. Frankly, many do not even get up and go out and help themselves, preferring to have things given to them because they feel they deserve it. They sit and occupy space but serve no purposeful function. This is not the biblical way of things, nor is it the mentality that built this once great nation.

The truest sign of a righteous and caring heart for the needy is worn-out soles on shoes and dirty calloused hands

Treated Unfair or Unreasonable Expectations

Is it that I am being treated unjustly or is it because I think too highly of myself? When I get treated unfairly (if that’s what it truly is) I take in on the chin and deal with it. I pout and often get angry or disappointed about it but I know now that It is often because I think too highly of myself and need not. We all have a certain level of expectation when it comes to how we feel we deserve to be treated. This is espeically a problem in the US right now because many (including me in the past) feel/felt we are/were entitled to a minimum of repsect and decent treatment. Says who? The government? The UN? Governing bodies and sovereign nations rise and fall and have done so all throughout history. What makes us think any of the sovereign nations or world organizations today will be any different. Rights??? LOL people. We all claim to have rights in this world but the last I checked, the Bible is not saying that we deserve much of anything in this world other than persecution as Christians. Self-Esteem and feeling good about ourselves? Self-Esteem is not a wholly Biblical principle, go read your Bible. Your self-worth is in Christ...not yourselves. Self-esteem in Christ and what Christ has done for us...yes. Self-esteem and demands for rights for ourselves? Read Philippians 2 about Jesus and tell me you deserve or are entitled to anything other than a trial-filled life and a painful death and I'll tell you that you didn't read the Bible right. Sorry people, reality TV and the "Real World or Real Lives" of "so-and-so" isn't reality at all. It is lives manufactured by sin and they are a distortion of reality, not a mirror to it.

"In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death--even death on a cross! Philippians 2:5-11

Folks! We need to get over ourselves. If we got what we truly deserved for being sinners in rebellion against God, we would be vaporized and spend eternity in seperation from God for our sins. God never promised an easy passage in this life, He only promised a nice destination to settle.


Stephen Bolin said...

That passage from Hebrews got me through Marine Corps Boot Camp. One of my favorites.

Andy Pierson said...

Amen brother. Discipline and toiling for things makes us appreciate the things we struggled for more. It instills an additional measure of worth in things that we normally wouldn't have notice. Its why I usually look for God in the small or difficult things. Andy

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