Friday, June 17, 2005

The Whole World at my Feet

When the devil failed with two subtle temptations directed to Jesus, he took him up on a high mountain where he could see the whole world (don't take that literally!) and told him he could have the whole thing IF---.Jesus passed that test just as he had the first two (See Matthew 4.)

This morning in a new way I realized how that temptation applies to me, even to the Christ in me.

The whole world is at my feet, sure nuff. I have unlimited leisure, good health, and the world, just as much of it as I can absorb:

There's so much beautiful music to listen to, so many wonderful books to read, so many delightful conversations-- with a delightful wife or many delightful friends. There's only one thing I don't have (adequately!); I don't have God; all this other stuff usually gets in the way, plus a big ego that won't quit no matter how often it's deflated.

What about travel? Well Mark (middle son), Kim and Rennie (granddaughter) are in Munich; then they're going to Salzburg and Vienna and then Florence and Venice. Believe it or not, I'd rather they make that trip than me-- it would simply blow my mind. And besides I've already visited 26 countries (during two wars).

Anyway I was in Salzburg and in Vienna, where the Emperor said that Mozart's music had 'two many notes'; I had to agree with the Emperor about that.

Paul and Judith Larsen, our two dearest friends are in Bangalore. Now that would be nice; but population 6 million, oh my the traffic. I noticed they're looking for people to work in the coffee shops, desperate for help. Said to be the fastest growing city in Asia. Paul and Judith, you can have it. But be sure I will enjoy your visit, and the children's visit as well.

What am I getting at? I'm facing the fact that all this big, beautiful world at my feet is keeping me from God. I can't even go to sleep at night, he has given me so many of the lovely things to focus on. I try to focus on God, but something always pops into my mind to take his place.

Brother and sister, Friends, pray for me.


kiznath said...

So many directions I can go here - heaven on earth, restoration, etc. Here's a couple of thoughts:

1. This big beautiful earth is a creation of God - and a gift that we are meant to enjoy (and restore). Seeing the sights of the world, appreciating music/art and conversing with each other is all part of that and for me, a way to know God better.

2. The devil's temptation brings up the idea of ownership, something that our culture today is obsessed with. But the Bible consistently reminds us that we don't really own anything - it's all God's. The Israelites had the year of Jubilee, the first Christians shared everything with each other - even the Heidelberg Catechism's first Q&A says that I am not my own. So we can appreciate (and take care of) this gift, knowing it doesn't belong to us.

Maybe you could explain more what it means to you to "have God"?

Larry said...

Thanks for your comment, Kathy. Re 'have God': that was a pretty ambiguous phrase. Looking over my post it looks like it came there in the context of the Devil telling Jesus he "could have the whole thing", namely the world, if he would worship him-- instead of God.

I guess my thought was that I can have the world (as I described my world here) or I can have God. I agree with what you say about the earth and that seeing the world may be a way to know God better.

What I seemed to be saying was that I've seen the world, and focusing on it with its delights may now impede the focusing on God that I feel the need to do.

I once read that (Asian) Indian men at a certain point give up worldly concerns (including their wife and family!) and take up a begging bowl and wander like Buddha's monks.

I don't foresee anything that rash, but I do feel the call (like the Hindus) to focus less on worldly things and dedicate my psyche in a more spiritual direction.

At your time of life I certainly believe that God wants you to experience life as fully as possible - in the material as well as the spiritual realm.

Gretchen Coleman said...

Hi Larry, I found you via Mark Walter's blog. I can certainly relate to this blog as I have the same problem. I study with the same Sensei as Mark does and that study is the best way I have found of focusing on the spiritual path. You can't help but focus on it in his presence.

But when I am not in his presence it is really difficult. When I attempt to meditate, all the world's stuff comes butting in. But I do try and am successful some of the time.

So, I guess my comment is find a teacher, and try continually to connect. You definitely won't be successful if you don't try.

Enjoyed your blog!