Monday, February 02, 2009

Epiphany Number 63

I have had some serious epiphanies this weekend. And an epiphany is more than just a simple realization or revelation. It's a sudden enlightenment. There was once a commercial that described the difference. I believe the commercial was for Allstate Auto Insurance, one of the first TV ads they made. I don't recall the details of the commercial, but the way the actor (Dennis Haysbert) describes the meaning of the word has always stuck in my head. I wish I could find the ad on YouTube, but alas, I cannot.

Regardless, the epiphanies are related, and the first occurred at church on Sunday morning. The passage of discussion in the sermon was Matthew 6:19-24. I've read this passage in the past; but it has much more relevance to me now that I'm independently monetarily wealthy; or in the very least attempted to reach that status.

But I realized, and it seems so obvious now, that I'm laying up treasure. I'm making plans on what treasure I'm going to buy next (dishwasher, hot tub, etc). My thought process had been before: After I have this thing, or after I pay off this loan, then I will give. Was I crazy?! Yes. Epiphany.

Although I honestly believe that I can live without so many material things like my TV, etc, I still worry about people breaking into my house and taking things. Hence the reason for the paranoia-induced number of locks I have in my house (not to say being secure is bad). Boom! Verse 19! "where thieves break through and steal"

My car is no better than it was a year ago, indeed, it is probably in much worse shape. It has some patches of rust. I daydream about a new car, but how long til that is rusting and decaying and being eaten by moths? Boom! Verse 19 again! "where moth and rust doth corrupt"

Rabbit trail: It was interesting to note that both the words rust and moth refer to something being consumed; the material, the goods, that people store up is actually being eaten. It not only decays, but is consumed! That was a smaller sort of unrelated epiphany as well. But I digress.

Most times when I have heard this passage being read, and preached upon, the pastor or whomever normally focuses on those first two verses, nineteen and twenty. But this time, the majority of the time was spent on verse 24. There were some revelations here too. The pastor delved into the precise meanings of every word in this verse. Hate vs. love. Holding onto vs. despise. The prior is the emotional while the latter is the practical. Not only will attempting to serve two masters lead to emotional conflict within oneself (that could potentially be hidden from view), it leads to practical conflict (that is much harder to hide from view).

And it's not just a day by day thing, meaning that one cannot serve mammon Monday through Saturday, and serve God on Sunday. This was already apparent to me, but was put very much in perspective.

On to Monday's revelation. I normally read a book during my travels. Since I worked this morning at the facility, and while waiting at the airport for my flight, I read on the plane. My plan was to finish half the book. I finished all of it.

The book is John Piper's Don't Waste Your Life. Essentially, he describes what in his opinion is a purposeful life. While the introduction to me was very overdone, the second half of the book was very enlightening. The intro can be summed up into: In order to not waste your life, define your purpose and fulfill that purpose. The question then all comes down to what is the purpose of one's life.

Purpose.

I will not quote John Piper. I find it unvaluable to quote large portions of text, but find it more beneficial to write my thoughts on said text, in order to expound and even improve on the points made by John Piper. I would recommend the book, though I will admit John Piper's writing style is far from even flowing (he likes his short, to the point paragraphs and then moves on to the next point). And so my thoughts, spurred by what I read; my epiphanies of Monday, February 2nd, 2009:

What does American society say is the goal of life? How does this relate to what should be a Christian's goal? Are they congruent? Are they extremely polar from one another?

(Please note that by no means do I mean that people should have nice things, comfortable things. One way you can fulfill your purpose is to enjoy the things that have been provided. But know to whom they belong. And be happy without them.)

Society says work as hard as you can as early as you can, so you can stop working. The Bible says (paraphrase) if one does not work, one shall not eat. This is not to say that one should not retire (or is it?). And I understand that this is one line from an entire chapter, book, text, and that it should not be taken out of context. And that context is that people had become lazy in one of the cities that Paul visited. Regardless, the end goal that society is that you should work and work and work, and then not work. But I'm now of the opinion that that's not precisely correct.

Society says make a "bucket list," a list of things you want to accomplish, things you want to experience, things you want to own, before you die. My list consists of one thing: owning a Porsche. Society says make this list, and then do everything you can to accomplish this list. If you fail at completing this list, you fail at life. But not so; even if people accomplish this list, their life may still be wasted, in fact there is more likelihood that it is wasted as they were spending all their strength in order to gather to themselves accomplishments, experiences, and possessions.

Would you be happy if you didn't complete your bucket list? If no, then I would say you are definitely wasting your life. If yes, good, there is joy in God and that is the primary source of remaining in high spirits when you don't complete the bucket list. Before this day would I have been happy if I never owned a Porsche? No. Boom! Epiphany!

Society could even be said to view people without material possessions as failures. Are they? In society's eyes? Yes. In God's eyes?


4 comments:

CarpathiaBenatar said...

HAHA, "fail at life."

It is my philosophy that a life
well-lived can be determined mainly
by the amount of compassion expressed
by the person living that life.

As well as "what is meant to be, will
be" and "it'll all work out."

:( Thinking of Sara now...

orion0616 said...

your philosophy is right inline with John Piper's then; that's pretty much what he said the measure of value is for one's life.

CarpathiaBenatar said...

inline? like inline skates? haha

you and your non-words.

drbott said...

good stuff
thanks for sharing