Sunday, June 14, 2009

Saying of the Desert Christians: True Poverty 4


Someone brought money to an old man and said, "Take this and spend it for you are old and ill", for he was a leper. The old man replied, "Are you going to take me away from the one who has cared for me for sixty years? I have been ill all that time and I have not needed anything because God has cared for me." And he would not accept it.

Some thoughts

Not only is this an example of true poverty, this refusal of money that could be put to good use, but it is also an example of a radical trust in the Lord that I confess I have yet to come to. I say that because I am being blessed with offers of money to help pay for surgery for my dear cat, Jack. I discover that I do not have the sort of trust that would allow me to refuse the money and say God will care for the cat. OTOH, perhaps these offers of assistance are God's way of providing for Jack. I am certainly thankful for modern medicine and the gift from God that is. My heart overflows with thanksgiving for those donations.

I find Sayings like this one confusing. Perhaps because they are grounded in a world view that is foreign to me. We are a long long time away from that period described in Acts where the Christians held all things in common and each received as there was need. Is that a model that has even a chance to work today, I wonder?

We live in a time which expects us to be responsible for ourselves. Perhaps our self-sufficiency is every bit as detriemantal to us as the extremeism of the Desert Chrisitans was detrimental to them.

Please forgive me if this is too personal and TMI. When I respond to these Sayings I do so from where I am at the moment and at this moment, my heart is so full of my cat, Jack, diagnosed yesterday with cancer which would respond well to surgery if it could be paid for. I ask your prayers for him.


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