As an adult who grew up in a very Bible-y place, verses fly through my head in response to nearly every situation I come across. And, of course, these verses were originally taught along with their "accepted" interpretations, a la various, basically fundamental, Christian churches. I say this because although I grew up in the Church of Christ, as soon as I was old enough to dare I began studying other variations of Christianity, such as Baptist, Catholic, and Assemblies of God. Most verses have the same "accepted" interpretations, except a few used to validate or denounce certain practices singular to one denomination versus others.
So the other day I was contemplating the outright GREED that has overcome our lives -- yes, the whole world, but especially here in the United States. As a City on a Hill that Cannot Be Hid, we are radiating GREED to the rest of the world. In the name, by and large, of Christianity. In contrast, we are lighting our lamps and then hiding them under bushels. Yes! We're the best place to live! We have more, promise more, ARE more! But...we don't want you. Especially if you are actually in need and might drain us of our resources. Please drain elsewhere. We don't have enough.
Well, we DO have enough for luxurious airplanes and expensive entourages for golf outings. Political campaigns. Huge parades and celebrations of ourselves. Yay! Aren't we amazing? Wouldn't you like to be us? Well you can't. You weren't born here. Or maybe your ancestors were but we drove them out and that's just too bad.
Then there's this little verse in Philippians. Always brought up to demonstrate just how much Jesus loved us. But it carries so much more weight when we look at ourselves, as Christ's representatives here on earth. Here in America.
"Have this mind AMONG YOURSELVES, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who -- THOUGH HE WAS IN THE FORM OF GOD -- did not count EQUALITY WITH GOD a THING TO BE GRASPED, but emptied himself, taking the form of a SERVANT..." Philippians 2:5-11, edited and emphasized as per my interpretation of the text.
What if this were applied to us? To each American? To our leaders? Who, though being in possession of wealth and power, did NOT count that as a thing to be GRASPED, but emptied ourselves, taking on the form of... Servants? Immigrants? Criminals? Hungry? Homeless?
While Christ was in the form of God and WAS God, we are NOT. We should count ourselves BLESSED, not ENTITLED. And figure out exactly what it is we are considering a thing to be grasped, so that we can empty ourselves of that and take on the form of servant. And serve those in NEED not those who can in return serve our needs. I'll scratch your back, you ... enjoy it. You feel appreciated. Your betterment is not only my reward, it is my JOB.
What is it YOU count as a thing to be grasped? What would it take to empty yourself of it? Are you brave enough?