As many of you know, our eldest son made it into high school this September. And as you can imagine, with that came a bit of anxiety and nervousness. I’ll admit that I’m pretty familiar with those feelings, as I remember going through similar stuff when I first went into high school.
It’s the bigger building, the larger student body, and of course the taller urinals in the washrooms. But above all, there was the social hierarchy that I was really worried about throughout pretty much all of high school (and later elementary school for that matter).
But one thing that I noticed as I climbed this latter is that I stopped (or never did) notice anyone that was below me on said ladder. I could only see those above me that I aspired to be like. Even some friends of mine that didn’t advance but this socially constructed ladder at the same pace as me were just left behind as I kept pushing forward. I was always the lowest common denominator in my equation of coolness, anyone below me was inconsequential and didn’t matter.
Now in hindsight, I see that this didn’t make me cool or better or any way, but it made me a jerk. And a lonely one at that.
I wish I was more humble back then, as who knows what kind of chasms I put between myself and others, what relationships I missed out on, and how life could have been so much richer in the way of community if I’d only get my head out of the sand and be able to see those around me. It’s a big world out there, and it’s too bad that I was just focused on the wrong aspect of it to actually notice how much there is for us.
Here we have themes of money, prestige, and how the love of all that is what is actually killing us. From the description of the rich in Amos, the specific naming of the love of money as the root of all evil in Timothy, and the familiar parable of the unnamed rich man and Lazarus, the named poor man in Luke.
The point that I see in all of these texts is how the love and pursuit of riches and personal gain has blinded us to the plight of those “beneath” us. We have been fooled to think that happiness is found in our wallets and our value is determined by the size of our chequebooks. We have been told since we were born that the most important thing in life is ourselves and getting what we want.
And scripture tells us that there is a real danger in that. There is a danger in not seeing the value in others (even those we are below us). There is a real shame in thinking that we are the lowest common denominator in our equation of life. There is just something wrong about not noticing those that we might feel just don’t matter.
Because the truth is, all people matter. All people have value. All people play a role in this body of Christ to which we all belong, joined together in this journey of life, and hopefully working together to bring out a collective joy and peace for all.
But it takes humility to see this, and even more humility to live it out. And that isn’t easy for anyone. But by the grace of God, we can learn to see each other as a sibling in Christ, and perhaps even love them for who they are as a child of God rather than how they could benefit us and our gain. And maybe we can continue to move forward in growing in God’s kingdom as a community and faithfully be God’s people in the world.
Thanks be to God! Have a great week, everyone!