Saturday, August 27, 2005

Fair Wages

Fair Wages. Do your work well and get paid well. Do your work not-so-well; get paid not-so-well. We would typically call that a loss of wages, but in reality, the wages of not-so-well done work are lack, worry and stress. Wages are not lost. They are fairly distributed according to the quality of work done…in a perfect world, that is.

The Shepherd said “anyone who receives a righteous man because he is a righteous man will receive a righteous man’s reward. And if anyone gives even a cup of water to one of these little ones because he is my disciple [student], I tell you the truth, he will certainly not lose his reward”[1].

In the Greek, this word reward refers to wages. In other words, the person who does well by receiving a righteous man and giving water to those who are thirsty will be paid wages according to the quality of their work. They will be rewarded.

This principle is repeated often by the Shepherd…in word and in deed. He says, “follow me” and “learn from me,” then He goes about doing good to others. And in a final, humble act He gives His life so others might live. The basic principle is this:

A live given sacrificially, willingly, is a life gained eternally.

I came to this revelation over time, but finally journaled about it last night. This theme runs throughout the Good News about the Shepherd. His mantra was that you must give to receive. You must lose life to find it. He lived these principles as He taught them.

He wasn’t promising some future hope. He was bringing it to life in the present. He said that his students, who abandoned all, would “receive a hundred times as much in this present age”[2]. In other words, they would be paid for their work now, and paid well.

The Shepherd is a fair wage kind of guy. Follow His lead and you will be paid well now and in the future. As the Jewish Proverb says, “The wages of the righteous bring them life…”[3].

[1] Matthew 10:41-42
[2] Mark 10:30
[3] Proverbs 10:16

Friday, August 19, 2005

Mystery...Questions...Where's Velvis?

WHOA...33 days since my last post?!?! What is up with that??

Sorry to my half-dozen readers.

I just finished reading Rob Bell's Velvet Elvis. Sorry Zondervan, I refuse to include that cheesy subtitle you added to help market it in your bookstores. The book was very good. Hey, it got me blogging again, so that counts for something...right?

An interesting undercurrent runs through the book--the mystery of God. I say interesting since that same undercurrent has been running through my mind for months now. I've been asking myself, "What do you really know about God?" Most of the time, no one answers.

If you want to know some of my thoughts on the mystery of God, look back at my April post, Is mystery back in vogue? This post also found it's way into the Faith articles on The Ooze.

In Velvis (my short title for the book...again, minus the cheesy subtitle), Bell uses the better part of Movement One (12 of the 18 pages) to talk about questions and mystery. Here are my two favorite passages:

The Christian faith is mysterious to the core. It is about things and beings that ultimately can't be put into words. Language fails. And if we do definitively put God into words, we have at that very moment made God something God is not (p. 32).

Questions, no matter how shocking or blasphemous or arrogant or ignorant or raw, are rooted in humility. A humility that understands that I am not God. And there is more to know (p. 30).

Hmmm...mystery...questions...humility...I can relate to those things. Bell does attempt to put his faith into words, but he steps back from the Christian worldview and tries to take in the whole story from Genesis to now. He understands that WE are part of the story that is still being told...or as Brian McLaren would say, "The Story We Find Ourselves In" (another great book, by the way).

Where have you tried to box God in? Does your faith allow room for questions?

I'm glad a good friend lent me Bell's book to read. It got me blogging again. It also prompted me to pick up Chilton's Rabbi Jesus again and continue learning.

Thanks for stopping by...I'll try not to be a stranger on my own blog from now on. Good night.