Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Sobering Reading on Wealth

It’s a long weekend, Labor Day weekend, and Pensacola awakes to rain-sodden streets and forecasts of a rain soggy three day weekend (bad for hotels and restaurants at the beach who hope for a sell-out Labor Day) and high surf from off-shore storms.

The reading for today from James is equally gloomy. I always think of “Insh’allah” when I read it, because it probably has an equivalent somewhere in the Quran, and my Muslim friends say “Insh’allah” (As God wills, or If God wills it) when they state a planned event.

While we are not rich, we have a large homeless population in Pensacola, sleeping out under the skies in hidden camps, scrounging for food, often with a dog, seeking handouts, seeking scraps. They are a constant reminder, to me, of how comfortable we are, and how comfort wars with the religious spirit. When we are too comfortable, we often fail to keep our focus on God, and are distracted by our toys and interests.

(I told you this would be gloomy.)

On the other hand, I wonder how spiritual I would be if I were hungry, worried about getting enough to eat, worried about my safety sleeping out in one of the camps. I wonder if their community looks after one another, or if it is a brutal and chaotic life. I wonder how you can keep your mind on things of the spirit when the search for basic necessities takes up a large part of your life.

James 4:13-5:6

13 Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a town and spend a year there, doing business and making money.’ 14Yet you do not even know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. 15Instead you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wishes, we will live and do this or that.’ 16As it is, you boast in your arrogance; all such boasting is evil. 17Anyone, then, who knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, commits sin.

5Come now, you rich people, weep and wail for the miseries that are coming to you. 2Your riches have rotted, and your clothes are moth-eaten. 3Your gold and silver have rusted, and their rust will be evidence against you, and it will eat your flesh like fire. You have laid up treasure* for the last days. 4Listen! The wages of the labourers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, cry out, and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts.

5You have lived on the earth in luxury and in pleasure; you have fattened your hearts on a day of slaughter. 6You have condemned and murdered the righteous one, who does not resist you.

September 2, 2011 Posted by | Character, Community, Cross Cultural, Cultural, ExPat Life, Financial Issues, Florida, Interconnected, Living Conditions, Pensacola, Spiritual, Values | 4 Comments