Distracted With Stuff

I deserve nothing, and yet I have everything.

And I’m not even sitting here comparing myself to people who live in third world countries. I’m just saying that I have everything I need and then some. Alot, actually…I have alot. And I’m still not comparing. I’m just stating the obvious.

I recently read a fiction book called Demon: A Memoir where a demon is recounting his story to a human being. It really got me to thinking about how distracted and “stuffed” my life is.

In the book, the demon says to the man, “You can’t see clearly. It’s why you wonder why bad things happen to so-called good people, why there is violence, disease, the senseless things on the news. You’re short-sighted, focused only on your immediate surrounding, your immediate time frame… your life transpires in a blink.  You’re driven by the things you see, that you can touch and smell. By what you feel. Things as temporal as you are.” (183)

“We (Lucifer and demons) have other methods of distraction as well, palatable, innocuous distraction condoned by your social mores. Gratification. Success. The striving for everything your culture says is important and worthwhile.  Everyone thinks they deserve happiness, after all. It’s practically written into your Constitution. What a great country. (267-268)

In essence, what he means is what an easy target we all are. Satan is out to distract us from the Way, the Truth, and the Life and destroy us in the process.

I’m grateful for my life.  But what if, like Job, all the extra stuff was stripped away and I had nothing, none of the blessings that I think I deserve? What if it were all gone in a day and none of it was left? My stuff, my family, my health?  Would I curse God and die? In reality, I really deserve none of these things. But would I still curse God and die?  I was formed out of dust and to dust I’ll return. And, yet, I forget this.

In our striving to make ourselves happy and comfortable, we’ve sort of  become like Nebuchadnezzar in all his apathy toward the people around him. Nebuchadnezzar had just declared God’s miracles and sovreignty, and then he says,  “I, Nebuchadnezzar, was at home taking it easy in my palace, without a care in the world.”  He has a dream, and Daniel comes in and tells him that God is going to make him crazy unless he changes his ways and starts showing mercy to the poor. A year goes by, and Nebudchadnezzar still  had not changed his ways. And God did what He said He was going to do. He makes him crazy like a loon and the great, mighty king starts acting like a cow, eating grass in the field.

I doubt very much that we’re all going to start eating grass in the fields, but this one hits a little close to my own materialism and apathy.

“The seed cast in the weeds is the person who hears the kingdom news, but weeds of worry and illusions about getting more and wanting everything under the sun strangle what was heard, and nothing comes of it. (Matthew 13:22)

It seems so easy. All Satan has to do is get us distracted by stuff  (power, fame money),  because Jesus says we cannot serve two masters at once. So Satan doesn’t even have to steal the seed away, our distractions make us unfruitful and unconcerned about Jesus and the people around us.

In the last year, our neighborhood and surrounding area have been burglarized a lot.  No one has been hurt in all of these robberies,  but I’ve talked to several neighbors since, and I’ve come to realize that some of our neighbors really want to physically hurt these thieves, like shoot and kill them. I get it that we want to protect our families. But some want to take away other people’s lives for stealing their stuff. There’s a reason that Jesus says not to lay up our treasures here on earth, where moth and rust corrupt and thieves break in and steal. Jesus knew our hearts would soon follow our treasure.

What is Abba calling me to do? What is Abba calling you to do? It’s probably going to have similarities but also look completely different at the same time.

I know we’re all called to follow and to love. The actual obedience part in the following and loving will probably look different for each one of us, because I’m dealing with different weaknesses, and I have different gifts. It makes sense that He’ll call us to do different things.  But we’re still part of the same body.  If I’m called to sell all that I have and give to the poor, that may not be what you’re called to do. Someone’s calling is not lesser than someone else’s. So let’s not compare.

I have no agenda here. I’ve just been taking a good, hard look at the life that Jesus led and the life that I now lead, and I’m questioning whether or not this is what it’s supposed to look like or if I’ve gotten distracted along the way with the things I have and the things I think I deserve.

Julia (who’s seven) said to me this morning, “We don’t need a whole lot. We need a little bit of food, and we need Jesus.”

No wonder Jesus loves the little children so much and said,  “For of such is the kingdom of heaven…”



2 Responses to “Distracted With Stuff”

  1. October 15, 2010 at 9:17 am

    Good morning. This is a great post which touches on something that we all wrestle with. It’s astonishing at how much we allow the physical world to govern us. We look at the snapshot of “now,” take inventory of what passes as normal amongst our contemporaries, and then attempt to conform to the image. Too often, our worldview is not eternal, but based on the flow of events which will have absolutely no relevance a hundred years from now. I’m thinking about looking for the book that you mention as it appears to present truths from an unexpected angle.

    To discern between what carries over into the realm of the everlasting and what ceases to be an issue upon the moment of ones departure, is a must.

    I really appreciate your site and will return when time permits. Blessings always in Jesus name.


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