The Chair and the Desk, 10/28/15

From the chair:

16 And he told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man produced plentifully, 17 and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’ 18 And he said, ‘I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. 19 And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.” ’ 20 But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ 21 So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.” 

22 And he said to his disciples, “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on. 23 For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing.” 24 Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds! 25 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? 26 If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest?

-Luke 12:16-23

As someone wired to saved, this is hard criticism to receive. Yet, the warning comes with an assurance: “Consider the ravens…God feeds them.” Why am I anxious? Very few of us may own barns, but this parable seems first and foremost about money and possessions, storing up the things that will give us the long and comfortable life we want to secure.

This morning, I heard a story on NPR about hoarding photos. The guest was trying to help listeners “de-clutter” their photos, and the host was talking about how she feels compelled to take photos of everything, because life is going by too fast. I identity with that feeling–life is going by so fast–but I don’t know if recording our lives will solve that. For whom are we recording everything? I worry that our anxiety about the speed of life, the need to capture it all, collect it all, freeze it all in time, will only grow and grow until we learn to rest in the face of him who is the resurrection and the life.

From the desk:

“In his essence, his innermost being, his heart, [a person] is only what he is gladly.”

-Karl Barth, Church Dogmatics III/2, p.267 (emphasis added)

Barth says a lot in the paragraphs leading up this line that make it especially rich, but I suspect that its profundity does not rely on the preceding arguments. This is one of those quotes worth reading a couple times to jump start a minute of quiet self-reflection.

“The chair” is the one Annie aptly chose for the corner of our living room, and it’s where I am committed to daily hearing from God’s Word–the Word I above all else hope to speak to others. “The desk” is the one by my coffee grounds and spare charger (if I get to the library early enough); it’s where I have the privilege of reading and thinking all day, where I intend to learn for others’ sake.

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