We are two nations in one. It seems that we have always been and perhaps will always be two nations. During the Revolutionary War, we were divided between the revolutionaries and the loyalists; during the Civil War, it was North and South. Now, it seems that it is the rich and the poor, the have’s and have-not’s. How long will it be before we understand that we cannot be divided by economic status, social status, or even simply differences of opinion?
It is alright to have differences of opinion but it seems that today many people do not care what others think. Either you believe what they believe or you are not allowed to believe at all.
The Old Testament tells us the story of Jacob and Esau, two brothers. On day, after a long and unsuccessful hunt, Esau comes home tired and hungry. Esau’s hunger was so great that he was willing to offer his brother Jacob anything at all so that he could get food. Jacob demanded and received Esau’s birthright, the right to the power and prestige that go with being the oldest son in the family (even thought Esau and Jacob were twins, Esau was the oldest by the matter of seconds).
Should Jacob not have offered the food to his brother without worry about compensation? Should Jacob cared more for his brother than he did his own position in life? How much like these two brothers are we? Are our own goals in life driven more by where we stand in society and life than they are by our caring for our brothers and sisters?
Jesus spoke of the sower spreading his seeds on the ground. Some seeds fell on the rocky soil and died quickly; others fell into the weeds and while they grew, the weeds choked off the growth and those seeds died as well. Only the seeds that fell on the fertile ground grew and flourished.
We are faced with a dilemma. Is the ground upon which we walk, is the path we take one of rocky soil? Is it choked with weeds? Or is the fertile soil open to the reception of the Holy Spirit, allowing us to grow in the spirit of Christ?
Will the spirit of Christ grow in us so that we are able to reach out to those in need and offer them help without demanding something in return? It is our choice what we do?
And the dilemma is that having prepared the ground on which we will walk, what shall we do about the ground around us? Is it possible that we might ignore others simply because we have the “good life?” I note with interest the reports that Rick Warren, one of today’s leading evangelists and writers, has forsaken his salary and given it back to his church. He is now leading the fight against global poverty, recognizing the call from Jesus to take care of those less fortunate.
John Wesley once pointed out that those who are starving cannot hear the call of the Spirit. We cannot follow Christ and then walk by those whose lives are cast upon the rocky ground or trapped within the weeds. Our own lives will not be any better.
We are two nations. Even in our own lives, we have two parts. We need to be careful that the life that keeps us tied to the world around us does not block us from the life that keeps us free and alive. We need to hear the call of the Holy Spirit this day, opening our hearts to the possibilities of growth and life that abound in Christ. We need to hear the call of the Holy Spirit that calls upon us to not abandon those around us suffering. lost, or in despair.
Is the path that you walk a path strewn with boulders and rocks, one that will cause you to stumble and fall? Is the path that you walk filled with the weeds of life that choke life and prevent growth? Or is the path that you walk one that allows the Holy Spirit to grow inside you, allowing you to find freedom and the promise of life eternal?
We walk a path. What path are you on?
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