March 25, 2008

Your Best Life Later

On Easter Sunday I decided that we should make a big breakfast before church since we weren’t going to eat lunch until around 2:00 pm. My dear sweet husband volunteered to make pancakes and bacon, his idea of breakfast perfection. I must say, it was really good! My husband is no chef, but he can go to town with pancakes, and he makes some seriously crispy bacon – just the way we like it! So after breakfast I didn’t have time to do all the dishes as I needed to get ready for church, so I left them to do later. We got ready and went to what was a beautiful Easter service and then came home.

I decided now was the best time to tackle those dishes because I knew I wouldn’t want to do them when I came home later that night from my folks’ house. I changed clothes and walked into the kitchen. The first thing that caught my eye was the frying pan with the cooled grease from the perfect bacon that Sean had fried earlier. At that moment something my mother told me struck me.

A while back we were talking about my grandmother, Hattie, who has been dead for around 5 years now. We were on the subject of what a hard life my grandmother had had in this world, and my mom started talking about my grandmother’s childhood. She said that Hattie had told her that they were so poor that they would often spread dried grease on homemade bread for a meal. They couldn’t even afford butter for every day use.

Seeing the dried grease in my frying pan and thinking about my grandmother, I went to my refrigerator, opened it, and saw staring back at me 3 different types of butter – salted real butter for Sean’s popcorn (another one of his specialties), unsalted butter for my baking, and a tub of yogurt butter spread to keep our behinds from expanding into next week. I have 3 types of butter in my fridge on any given day, and my grandmother had to spread grease on her bread, and that was a meal! How often do I eat buttered bread by itself for dinner? Never.

Why am I telling you all of this?

I just can’t get the sight of that grease out of my head. I can’t stop thinking about all of the butter sitting in my perfectly packed, cooled refrigerator, which sits in my perfectly packed, cooled house. I can’t stop thinking about how I complain about my small pantry every time I come home from the grocery store because I can’t find room to put everything in it.

Now, I’m not going to preach about the consumerism country that we live in, though it does fit in with my argument about what is truly godly and what is godless. No, what irks me is all of the preaching on the t.v. that I hear. All this nonsense about how “God will bless your life with STUFF if you will let Him.” It’s the whole, “Your Best Life Now” Osteen mumbo-jumbo. Who wants to live their best life now anyways? I’ll save my hay-day for the after-life, you know the never-ending choice of the two, thank you very much.

Let me tell you, my grandmother was the most deserving woman that I have ever known, yet God did not provide her with mansions, nice cars, or tons of money. He didn’t even provide her with butter for her bread most times. God doesn’t shower us with constant materialistic gifts if we love Him. He’s not dumb. Good parents don’t give their children what they want. They don’t shower them with things for fear that they will spoil and ruin their children. Every parent with any sense knows this. So why do so many people think that God is different? He is the perfect Father. He knows wealth could potentially ruin us. He warns us of it in the Bible:
I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God (Matthew 19:23-24).

I have been thinking about this non-stop for going on two days now, and it just hit me that my sweet, holy grandmother, who is the most amazing woman I have ever known, is so blessed because God sanctified her throughout her life with constant trials and hardship. We learn some holy lessons at the end of our trials. God uses the trials in our life to bring us closer to Him.

This is why I am repulsed when I look at these ministers wearing their expensive suits in their million dollar buildings (for they are NOT churches in my mind) preaching of all the things God wants us to have. What a contrast this vision is to that of many saints’ lives. Saint Theresa lived her life amidst the poor to serve them. St. Francis of Assisi was to be a wealthy inheritor of his father’s wealth but gave it all away to live a holy life in poverty. And then there’s Jesus, of course. I could go on, but pick up a book about the lives of the saints, those in God’s favor, and you will see how much of this world they did NOT have.

I am at the front of the line of people who pray for God to take away my hardship when I am in the midst of a trial, and I hope that in the future I will be able to look outside of myself and thank God for not only the blessings in my life but the trials as well.

And all that butter. Gosh. Well, I just feel sinful for having so much. I don’t feel rich, that’s for sure, but when compared to all of the people in the world, I AM rich in this world. That kinda shakes me a little, and I really feel compelled that I need to live more simply.


Beth said...

Word, Stephie!

Missy @ It's Almost Naptime said...

Did Penny tell you about when we watched Osteen on Easter afternoon? He actually said that if you pray properly, God might give you a promotion, etc etc, or "You might get a phone call that a relative has died and left you an inheritance!" So Penny and I decided we needed to start praying for our relatives to die.

It was so wrong. He said that if we don't get things, it is because we are not praying for God to overflow our cup or some such bs. And I just thought, man, the Apostle Paul, I was thinking he was the number 2 holy man, but evidently he wasn't favored, because he was poor as dirt. And most of the other apostles and saints throughout history.

For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.

2 Tim 4:3-4

Thomas said...

Excellent post!

Wisdom From the Pope

“The inalienable dignity of every human being and the rights which flow from that dignity - in the first place the right to life and the defense of life - are at the heart of the church's message." Pope John Paul ended his address, saying: "In spite of divisions among Christians, 'all those justified by faith through baptism are incorporated into Christ...brothers and sisters in the Lord.'" Pope John Paul 2