It’s NOT fair

Someone explained to me the concept of stewardship vs. ownership this way: When you own something, and you let someone borrow it, you tend to be pretty clear that sure, you can use it, but DON’T FORGET IT’S MINE. (Don’t laugh, you know it’s true.) And God, he’s the same way. Not in a petty way, but in a this-is-a-gift-from-the-King-of-the-Universe kind of way. Don’t forget it’s his. “Ownership” is the false perception that you’re in control; stewardship is recognizing who really is.

2 Corinthians 8:1-9 talks about not just giving to God out of the extra. Because that’s what we tend to do, isn’t it? But if we really set our eyes on the end goal here, if we really believe that this world is not our home, then isn’t it true that whatever successes to which we lay claim, whatever secret treasures we tuck away, whatever castles we build are really all just made of sand?

But that’s hard though, right? Because this world, well, we can say we’re strangers in a strange land, that this isn’t our final destination or our true home, but…it’s all we can see. All we feel like we’ve ever known. Maybe that’s why, in the everyday miracles of life, God gives us a glimpse of eternity.

It’s in the bride and groom, smiling into each other’s eyes and seeing only beauty and joy as they are united as one.

It’s in the father telling his son “I love watching you play,” after every game, win or lose.

It’s in the fact that even when all seems lost, the sun is still going to rise tomorrow morning, and it’s never too late to start over.

It’s in the sisters who argue over shower time, but when it comes down to it will always defend each other.

It’s in the phosphatase of your cells, just one of the millions of enzymes, each one without which your cells couldn’t live.

It’s in the best-selling, under-read book that secretes truth that cleaves between heart and soul, bone and marrow, and that gives a foundation of rock in a sinking-sand world.

It’s in the things we overlook, the everyday, mundane miracles, the little hidden messages of God, saying, I’m here.

Because sometimes, it’s so easy to forget. Because I feel sometimes like I’m drowning, under the weight of the expectations, demands, standards, responsibilities, pressures, choices, decisions–the heaviness of it all threatens to crush me and I want to complain that I don’t deserve this but the fact that I have the option to choose these things puts me in a really, really privileged place.

And you know what? Sometimes life isn’t fair. But this world is not our home.

In closing, I wanted to share a poem I wrote last April bemoaning my frustrations when it connected that you know, my frustration and exhaustion and overwhelm and indecision and demands really do suck, but there’s a whole lot of things that really suck a lot more, and probably don’t have half as much volume. And maybe, just maybe, despite how worn and fed up and irritated and exhausted and wanting-to-scream-into-a-pillow-feeling I am, the real question should honestly be, how much more can I give? Because in reality, this world is NOT my home, and all these castles, they’re made of sand, and will be worn away with a single wave unless I find for myself a foundation of stone.

 

It’s not fair
That I try till I cry
and I’m never recognized
It’s not fair
that I’m putting all my time into this
and still expected to live
up to everything else.
It’s not fair
the expectations and standards, requirements and demands
the time I don’t have;
I’m struggling to stand and
It’s not fair
that kids are abused
and women are used
and some are refused
respect
based on the color of their skin
It’s not fair
that the world we’re in’s
so full of sin
that no one can win
It’s not fair
that children in Africa are forced to drink
the same water that killed their mothers
because they have no other option
It’s not fair
that we live in a world of illusion
absorbed in self-delusion
and all are refusing
to listen
to the cries
of the invisible broken.
We’re all human together!
We can stare at the stars
or stand in the dark
or just watch from afar
and ignore the suffering of our brothers
We made it to the moon, but somehow
we still can’t reach each other.
We’ll never find justice, till we stand with one another
and say
and shout
and sing aloud
with one voice:
This.
Is.
Who.
We.
Are.

What’s in a Name?

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What’s in a name?
That which we call a rose, by any other name,
would smell as sweet.

A Sky Full of Stars. Maybe you thought of the Coldplay song, maybe you thought of Les Mis, maybe you thought of Van Gogh. That’s what came to my mind, anyway, but maybe I’m just a little too artsy-fartsy.

Whichever way, none of these was the real reason.

In Philippians 2:14-16, Paul writes:

Do all things without grumbling or disputing; so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and pure, children of God, above reproach in the midst of a crooked and depraved generation, among whom you shine like stars in the universeholding fast to the word of life, so that on the day of Christ I will have reason to rejoice, because I did not run nor toil in vain.

The world that we live in is hard. The world that we live in is dark, cold, confused, lost, fake, empty, temporary, and unfulfilled. The world that we live in is broken. Its people are broken. Including you and me. Our world, our nation, our generation, is twisted, and depraved, and lost. And broken.

Two thousand years ago, in the midst of all this brokenness, there came a Savior. A Healer, a Light, a Leader, a spiritual Revolutionary. A God with skin on. A holy perfect being in a broken, twisted world that is falling apart, no matter what kind of cover we put on it, no matter how many lights and billboards we fill our cities with. He came into that, with a radiant, radical love that knew no boundaries.

And we killed him.

Yet, even that–even sin, even death, even that overwhelming darkness–couldn’t stop this man. He went to hell and back for his broken heart for this broken world and rose again so we could see–darkness isn’t everything. There is a victory, there is a triumph, there is something so much greater. And that is what we live for.

That’s what everyone is looking for, you know. We’re all searching for something. Maybe we’re just looking in all the wrong places.

This man’s name is Jesus, and one day, he’s coming back.

And for now? For now I’m following in his footsteps, covered in the dust from my Rabbi’s sandals.

A star, viewed in our sky, from the ground, is a tiny thing. Some you would hardly notice. But when they’re all out together–they light up the night in a blazing galaxy, a visual symphony, burning with that inner spark we see magnified a hundred times in the light of our sun.

That’s me. And that’s you, too. That’s our generation. I’m done with striving after worthless things. They’re only pacifiers–they may make a baby stop crying for food, but it doesn’t satisfy the hunger. I want to live, to truly live. And there’s only one place I know where I can find truth and life.

Together, we can light up the night.

–Bre