Is it not blessed to give and then to receive many blessings more from God above who is the Creator of joy and delight? Why, then, do we hold on to the wealth entrusted to us as if it’s ours forever and claim it as the wisdom of Jesus Christ, baptizing our lives in vague words and not in the Spirit? Consider the plain living of most of the world: in contrast to them, we are Lazarus and Mary and Martha and Joseph of Arimathea.
Yet we insist on living like Zacchaeus before he met Jesus, we insist on living oblivious to all the repercussions of the way we conduct our lives, we insist on a sanitized name acknowledgement of American-Dream Jesus. As long as we are happy while we attend church at 09:15 and end at 11:00 – and I shall pass over the fact that many, including myself, arrive late to church all too often – we tell ourselves that we must really be enjoying Christ; but when we encounter the slightest challenge to our “normal” way of life, we balk.
Consider the ways of those who first followed Christ our Saviour. There was a time when Lazarus’ sister Mary broke an alabaster phial of pure spikenard – of equivalent cost to an automobile – to pour the costly essence upon Jesus’ feet. And then, after Jesus’ death,
When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who also was a disciple of Jesus. He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then Pilate ordered it to be given to him. And Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen shroud and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had cut in the rock. And he rolled a great stone to the entrance of the tomb and went away. Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were there, sitting opposite the tomb. (Mt. 27.57–61)
They were extravagant in acting in their love for Jesus, not just dropping off money at the Temple with the clang of many gold coins but parting with things of great value to further the kingdom as they knew.
Good food and drink, good music, good houses, good literature, good art – enjoyment in beauty – brings glory to God the Creator of all good, and we should indeed seek to enjoy and to make these things, but is there not so much more we can do if we love God? We can do as we have always done and say, “All for You” about our own enjoyment of good things, which can be quite true. But we can also go and take joy in not only praising God that we have but also in sharing that with others in all manner of ways: “Thy kingdom come.”
A city on a hill cannot be hidden.