Thursday, September 13, 2007
Eat the rich
Tuesday morning at 6:15, which is unbearably early, I had a meeting with a friend and businessman who is has a deep commitment to the poor and to justice. Directly after that, I had a prayer meeting with a bunch of guys involved with, or leading, different urban ministries. By the time all of it was finished, it was noon. It was a long morning.
The first meeting was really good. The prayer was revitalizing and deeply spiritual. It was a good morning. The thing that stood out about it was what happened right before I left the prayer meeting. We had wrapped up and a pastor just kind of off hand asked if anyone had anything else. I'm sitting there in this room with a diverse cross section of men... a few straight laced white guys, a couple of ex-vatos, an Indian minister, an asian ex-gang member, a Salvadoran immigrant, and I had an epiphony.
I don't often have times of intense personal genuflection and clarity, but I had one in that room. I realized that I have been harboring deep resentment and a marked lack of grace for rich people. I tend to not like them very much. Not because they have money or nice things, but because in them I have often witnessed an arrogant mentality that views those who have as better than those who have not. Plus, It pisses me off that people can be so obscenely wealthy and give so very little to those assisting the poor and needy. Freakin' greedy, self serving, rich people.
At the end of spending an hour in the presence of God I suppose He decided that I needed to confess this prejudice to those in the room. I did, and when I did I was struck by a deep compassion for those who take pride in their own wealth. I was reminded that Jesus said it was harder for a rich man to enter into the kingdosm of heaven than for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle. I remembered that over and over the Bible teaches that God has mercy on the poor and has favor for the oppressed. I was reminded that those poor folksI feel especialy burdened for are dear to God's heart. I was reminded that I was being a jack-ass in my attitude towards the affluent.
In Light of this, I was shown that it is an act of love and compassion towards the rich to help them to see the rewards in giving and serving. It is humbling for them and softens their hearts. It teaches them compassion and allows them to listen for the voice of God. I need to have mercy and love the rich, because often they are just as lost as thehomeless crackhead... they just smell better. I shared this with the men around me and asked God to help us to look upon the materialy wealthy with the same compassionate eyes that we view the poor. As I did I recognised that that message was not just for me, but for quite a few of the guys around me. We had begun to get proud of our poor folks and esentful of those we saw as indifferent towards thier plight. As people who strive to follow Christ, we can be proud of none of this, only compassionate towards all..... regardless of whether or not the drive a Mercades or a shopping cart.