Sunday, October 12, 2008

Uncomfortable Privilege

Yesterday evening I had the privilege of seeing the musical Little House on the Prairie at the Guthrie with my wife and daughter (Naomi). The weather was beautiful so, before the show, we took time to walk across the stone arch bridge in Minneapolis, had dinner at Pracna on Main (outdoors until a few raindrops chased us in), and then returned via the 3rd Ave. bridge and a walk along the river. It was fun for us to be tourists in our own state.

As I write this I'm aware that so many will, for one reason or another, never have an experience like that. Maybe because they can't afford it financially. Maybe because family life is to difficult or complicated. I feel almost ashamed to mention these pleasures on my blog.

My life is saturated with sin. I do not love my neighbor as myself. I am not willing to give up my privileges so the joys of life will be equally distributed to all. I hope I can use my privileges to bless more than to curse, but, if I am truthful about it, I can't be sure at all.

That's why the greatest privilege is knowing our Savior. He does take our sin away (Psalm 103:12). And he can use all the circumstances of our lives to bring blessing (Romans 8:28). At the same time, however, through his example and his teachings, Jesus challenges us to live for others instead of for ourselves.

I, for one, will always be living, I think, in this uncomfortable, privileged place. Even if I were to lose my salary or pension in these troubled economic times, I would still be better off than so many because of the solid foundation I have in my family's love and in my faith. I think my task needs to be to share as much of that "faith privilege" as I can.

But, as long as I have some material privileges too, my Lord will always be pushing me uncomfortably in the area of economics. I should be thankful for that because it brings me to my knees in confession every day. I pray I will be open also to change as He pushes me to share.


  1. How do we know if we are doing enough to help others? I know God wants us to live joyful and abundant lives, but it is frusterating when we reach out to help others and they have no interest in Jesus. How do we find balance with Work, family, worship, others, hobbies ?


  2. Thanks for your comment! Three things I can say off the top of my head:

    1. None of us ever does "enough" for those in need. We will always fall short. We need Jesus both as an example and a sacrifice for self-centered sinners like me. I think I'm in a good place as long as my heart is broken and pliable in God's hands, when I can still be responsive to the needs around me, and when I recognize that Jesus' suffering and death was for sinners like me.

    2. The results of how we "help" others is not our business. We learned that in our gospel text for yesterday (Mt 22 - parable about inviting both good and bad). On the other hand, I don't think we should do so much for others on a consistent base that people become dependent on us when they are able to do for themselves or if they aren't interested in a relationship with the ones who are helping and only want material help. Those working in social services are continually fighting that battle!

    3. We'll never find true balance in this life. We will always be unbalanced one way or another. Recognizing that we can continually correct our balance, like a person standing on the center of a teeter-totter.

  3. It is one of our responsibilities to help others in need, regardless of the outcome of our help. I sometimes feel guilty about the personal financial situation I find myself in. With that being said, I also believe that He puts people in certain situations for a specific reason. I look at it as a huge responsibility. It is a huge responsibility to be good stewards with the things that He has blessed us with. We never deserve anything He does for us. If we just keep in mind that everything that we have isn't really ours in the first place, it is much easier to give it back! Have a great day and God bless!!

    PS: thanks for this blog, Steve