Seeing Beyond Our Eyes: Lenten Devotions
Wednesday, April 20
We have all heard the expression: “Seeing is believing!” But seeing can also be misleading. What you see and experience can actually deceive, delude, or even trick you. How many of us have watched magicians at work? We see birds and rabbits pop out of hats; we see people levitate or disappear before our eyes. In other words, seeing can be misleading!
Similarly, in our society there are “truths” that are not truths at all but are in fact like magic tricks. Some of us have bought into them. They have become part of our everyday lives. Our thoughts and actions are guided by them on a subconscious level. Our goals and aspirations are shaped by them. They are so entrenched in our thinking that they have become normalized in our consciousness and express themselves throughout our culture. The sad fact is such deceptions have not only infiltrated society but also the church of God.
What are these deceptions?
Psalm 49 calls on the world to hear the truth concerning the temporary glory and false security of those who gain their wealth unjustly. But this psalm also distinguishes the everlasting hope of the righteous who put their trust in God’s word and follow the Spirit of God.
This psalm takes head-on a great deception in our society. We all know that in our society a person’s wealth or lack thereof determines not only his or her social standing but also the way others treat him or her. Let Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Oprah Winfrey, or another billionaire or millionaire grace our presence. People will stand at attention and often cater to his or her every need. It’s not the worship of the individual but, rather, the wealth he or she possesses. It is our perception of the power of wealth and the so-called comfort and security it brings in this life.
At the same time, let someone with shabby clothes, not the best of odors, hair unkempt, and obviously poor come in. It is easy for us to dismiss him, to walk past and not recognize his humanity. We never ask, “How did he get where he is?” We never ask about his morality or righteousness. We sometimes consider him as possibly not being blessed! All we know is that he is poor and so subconsciously something kicks in and causes us to ignore—and even evade—his presence at times.
This psalm challenges this way of being. Wisdom cries out, saying, “Be mindful of your perceptions. Be mindful both rich and poor of how you perceive riches and those who possess them. Be mindful not to put your trust in the wealth that is fleeting and temporal. Be mindful to put your trust in God and God’s eternal riches.”
For earthly wealth has its limits, but God’s riches are limitless! There comes a time when all men and woman will part from their wealth, either in this life or when this life is over, and will have to stand before their Maker. This is the message of the psalm. Learn the ways of love, loving your neighbor as yourself. Learn the ways of sharing and the gift of giving. Learn the ways of seeking God’s will in all matters. Then you truly will be blessed.
Derrick Boykin is Northeast regional organizer for Bread for the World.
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