(the second in a series of three blogs by Larry Webb)
For the first fifty years of my life I thought the rich were blessed. I thought the healthy were blessed. I thought the happy were blessed. I thought those without suffering were blessed.
When someone got a good grade in school I would hear, “I’m so blessed.” When someone got a promotion at work or came into some real money I would hear, “I’m so blessed.” When someone was cured of cancer or some other illness I would hear, “I’m so blessed.” When someone won a race or scored a touchdown or closed a lucrative business deal I would hear, “I’m so blessed.” When someone had the perfect spouse, the perfect house, the perfect car, the perfect “Southern Living Magazine” life I would hear, “I’m so blessed.”
But Jesus said the poor are blessed. Those who mourn are blessed. The hungry are blessed. The meek are blessed. Those who weep are blessed. Even the persecuted are blessed. Paul said that he rejoiced in his sufferings and encouraged us to rejoice in our suffering. Bizarro!
Jesus even said, “Woe to you who are rich… Woe to you who are full… Woe to you who laugh… Woe to you, when all people speak well of you…” – Bizarro!
Why did Jesus eat with tax collectors and sinners?
He explained, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. Go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” Isaiah claimed that all of our righteousness (our right-ness, our “good” deeds/works/acts) are like filthy rags (much stronger language in the original text) and Paul said that he now counts all of his zeal and righteousness and “good” accomplishments that he once thought merited him favor with God as garbage (much stronger language in the original text). – Bizarro!
Jean Vanier also wrote,
“…Jesus came to bring the good news to the poor, not to those who serve the poor! I think we can only truly experience the presence of God, meet Jesus, receive the good news, in and through our own poverty, because the Kingdom of God belongs to the poor…”(2.)
“…He has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed…” No mention here of the rich, the free, the beautiful, the powerful, the leaders, those that see, those who have never known oppression, those living the “good” life. – Bizarro!
It is as if the Lord doesn’t even need me or my service. “…the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others….” What? “The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything.”
Really? – Bizarro!