Thursday, December 23, 2010

"No, Mine!"

"Because he knew no contentment in his belly, he will not let anything in which he delights escape him... In the fullness of his sufficiency he will be in distress... Utter darkness is laid up for his treasures." - Zophar (one of Job's "friends")

I guess I'm kind of a materialist, sort of, sometimes, rarely, never. This truth combined with my recent Bible reading has me a little conflicted.

To give you an example of how materialistic I can be I'll give show you how literal my obsession with stuff is. You all know by now that one of my weaknesses is escape and mountain biking. But I really like my bike. I like it so much that sometimes I'll just stand in the garage and stare at it. I don't know what I'm doing, just embracing the tingly feeling that having something really nice gives me.

I took my bike to the shop the other day and the mechanic said, "Wow, it looks like it's seen a lot of use. If it's just your junker bike, I'd recommend not worrying about the cheap chain." My junker-bike! If I could have figured out where my bikes ears were I would have covered them. What a jerk! He didn't know where he had just trespassed. My poor sweet precious bike. "My Precioussssss!" (Lord of the Rings) "It's the fastest hunk of junk in the Galaxy!" (Star Wars)

I spend a ton of time looking at a mountain bike website. In fact, when I'm working, I try to take a break every 45 minutes or so and I always go to this website. You see it has used bikes for sale. Deals!!! More stuff and eye candy than I can handle. I love it!

In fact, I broke down and bought a sweet deal on a bike from a kid in Florida. I was getting a steal at $240. It turns out, so was he. He had no intention of selling a bike, he just wanted money. Sadly without Jesus, I could see me doing something like he did. Unfortunately with Jesus, my attitude towards him wasn't much better.

It turns out we did our transaction through Paypal, which is quick to make amends for the frauded. So the kid wasn't too smart of a thief ("Stupid punk" are words that pop into one's head.) He may have a Paypal account with his Mom's credit card which means when Paypal refunds me my money he'll be in trouble! I imagine he'll either lose his money or his hide will get tanned. Either way he'll lose and I'll win!

When I was still wondering whether he'd send the bike or not, I sent him a "few" messages. They were a little, shall I say, tainted by sin. In one message that was particularly revealing of me and my materialism, I said shared with the kid that I'd done some pretty bad stuff in my life and so when it comes to steeling, "I'm right there with you man (jerk)." Sounds good right? Well that wasn't the intent of my message. I really didn't know it at the time but I was right there with him and perhaps surpasing him in my sinful, mean, jerky spirit. I continued by saying in very certain terms that if he was scamming me, I would label him a "scammer" and get my money back. Yup, that's the language of a sinner saved by grace. I try to spread it around.

I'm not quite sure where I'm going with all this, other than to say that I'm just as addicted to stuff as the next guy. That's why idolatry, which is so popular to talk about these days, makes my "ears tingle" (to get biblical). I think I might surpass the next guy, maybe.

Christmas is a dangerous time for me. I really sort of don't like it. But then I love it! Presents for MEEE?! I have a Pavlovian response to Christmas. My greed swells as the season draws near. And as I'm older now, my family members give me money instead of gifts. This is almost worse as it has me obsessively rubbing my hands together and wondering what I can buy for me this year. I always think something new and shiny (shiny is really important) will make me happy. And it does. A happy jerk.

In Christmas we see a God who gave away everything. And in the passage above we see God's attitude towards the man who hords stuff for himself. Yikes!

I'm still conflicted. I know a blog entry won't cure me. I need a God who gives to take my greedy clutching hands, while I mutter "Give me, give me, give me!" and give me the real gift, the gift of giving. OK, so now I sound like a Hallmark Card, but even though they rake in millions of dollars this time of year, their messages can be true.

Like every Christian everywhere says this year, "May you focus on Christ this Christmas." I concur. But I first need everybody to give me everything they own, and then I will be happy.

Merry Christmas!

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