A Fat Beggars Bible Study (BS) Lesson #2

(I began this BS Series over a year ago and dropped it.  Today’s offering picks up the series again.  For those interested in BS Lesson #1, find it here:  https://fatbeggars.wordpress.com/2015/11/10/a-fat-beggars-bible-study-bs-lesson-i/?frame-nonce=1ec948100d)

Today’s text, brothers and sisters, comes from Mark 10:17-31.  It may not be the most famous Bible passage, but it surely is one rich people hold dear and meditate on as they fall asleep each night!  If you want your wealth validated by God, there is hardly a better passage of Scripture for you to study.

Yes, this is that story of a poor man, homeless in fact, that came running up to Jesus to ask him what he should do to have abundant life.  Most translations depict him as “poor”, which is close enough, but the discrepancy is the part where he comes to Jesus and calls him “good”.  This is a bit problematic in both the Greek and the textual variants.  The really old manuscripts use a Greek term there that could be translated “501c3 charitable organization” instead of Jesus.  This means that the homeless man comes to a non-church organization (some folks call it “para-church”, but even that admits that the organization is not actually Christ or his Body).  But this should set the stage now for the action God obviously wants us to see.

This bum comes to the 501c3 and asks how to get abundant life, which we know Jesus brings because he tells us this in John 10:10.  And the 501c3 rightly tells the guy to follow God’s law just like you find it in the Old Testament.  But the homeless guy said, “Yeah… I know all that.  I actually live by the Ten Commandments and as closely as I can to the Sermon on the Mount too, but it seems like something is missing”.

Now, I don’t know about you, but when I hear a homeless person say they sense something is “missing” from their life, the first thing that pops into my mind is … A HOME!  Maybe that’s just me, but if you analyze the word “homeless” it pretty much means “without a home”, and you don’t actually need to know the Greek to get that.

But it is at this point the 501c3 exposes the man’s heart and helps him see the many things he is “lacking”.  He lacks sobriety on the one hand, and if he will just get some job training, join AA and NA, take a course in resume-writing and interviewing (not to mention anger management and an art class), AND if he attends all these classes every day without missing more than three in a month or showing up late, THEN he could get a locker to keep his stuff in, get on the list for a shower, and use the phone!

The homeless man looked at his options and thought to himself, well, it’s not like they are offering a miracle here or nothing, but if I do ALL THESE THINGS, then maybe, JUST MAYBE, I can eventually translate a locker, a shower, and use of a phone into a job at McDonalds or Wal-mart.  Then, IF I can make it through the probationary period without getting fired for showing up late (since I don’t have a car) or for slipping back into my addiction… Who knows?  Maybe I will finally save enough money to put down for first and last month rent on a lease for an apartment!  Yes!  This would be the abundant life Jesus talked about!

And just as he was mulling over the offer of the 501c3 to join their program, some fellow homeless people came in the shelter reading a story in the morning paper about a rich man who sold everything he had, gave his wealth to the poor in the form of $100 bills all around the downtown library, all in an effort to honor Jesus.  When the director of the 501c3 heard of it, he turned to the crowd and said, “Children, How hard it is to enter into the American Dream!  No one can enter it without lots of hard work.  When a rich person gives away their wealth to the poor, they actually hurt the poor and harm this process – even derailing it!  How much better it is to sell all you have and give it to the 501c3 and then truly help folks obtain the abundant life!”

And the homeless people gathered around the shelter that day said, “Behold!  We gave up on all hope for a miracle or for someone to actually LOVE us to follow your programs.  But if there is a guy handing out $100 bills at the library… I just remembered I have an overdue book I need to return there.  Sorry if I miss the NA class.  Please count it as one of my 3 excused absences…”

And life at the shelter went on as usual.

Advertisements

4 comments

  1. T. F. Thompson · March 22

    We don’t hear much about corporate welfare. Neither do we require them to jump through hundreds of hoops to prove their worth. The Federal Reserve Bank comes to mind among hundreds of others. In the case of the bum, if he could do all those things they want him to do, then he wouldn’ t need them in the first place. You see, society and the church are willing to do some things up to a point, but in there, they also want to prove to the ‘bum’ who is in charge.

    Let’s look at some facts:
    That bum does not brew his or her own alcohol (Look to the big boys for that one.)
    What chance does that bum have in starting their own business? No, he must go through them.
    What task did the corporate world in putting the bum in his bad situation to begin with? Did they make him work, forfeiting time with his family? Did he work until 2 in the morning, or at all weird hours of day or night to include all weekends and then tell him it wasn’t enough?

    In case anyone is wondering, I don’t blame corporations for all our woes. However, they will be the first to tell you: to heck with the bum and on with the profits. That’s why they are there.

    And now, the church is there. But of course it is. Yet, remember too, the church is ALSO a corporation. opps, okay forget the bum. We want call this Bible Study (BS). we simply reduce it to plain old BS.And this is all a shame.

    Another great post, my friend. Keep them coming and I’ll keep reading.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Agent X · March 22

      Ha! Ha!

      Thanx for that comment.

      Several years ago, I watched a sitcom (don’t recall the name of it) where a good deal of the episode dealt with how the husband and wife had trouble communicating on the same level. Every time the wife would say something, he would hear her in Chinese… but he didn’t understand Chinese. And vice versa.

      I was reading the text above and considering just how heavy it is. Rich people should be deeply troubled by it. “How hard it is for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God… It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God!” Wow!!!

      No… Its not impossible. The same Gospel says all things are possible with God. But Jesus makes a really heavy point there to describe how hard it is for the rich to be in God’s rule! That oughta weigh heavy on all our minds, really. Even America’s poor are waaaaay better off than the poor in say, North Korea (or just last night I saw pictures on the evening news of children in South Sudan starving to death). I don’t typically think of myself as rich, but we have 5 TV’s in this house, I think as many computers, 4 cars, we actually throw out food… And I spend so much energy counting myself as NOT rich because we only have two bathrooms for 6 people and I cut my own grass to save money (wash my own car too, btw) rather than using a service. Cant afford those fine things… and btw, both my wife’s sisters live in mansions and drive NEW cars – of which they have four or more too. Thus, I keep drifting into the notion that we are poor. (AND I AM A STREET MINISTER, FOR CRYING OUT LOUD!!!)

      Yeah.. so I was pondering why I (and my family/friends) aren’t more troubled by this passage of Scripture. And I think we are distracted with the kind of thinking I describe in this comment. And that is just a part of the overall denial, really.

      But then I got to thinking about that old sitcom. And it occurred to me that I should resurrect the BS study series. I would warp the text so that it eases my conscience. And the more I got into it, the more I found the practices of so many charities and the churches that support them foaming up in the translation. After all, the picture I painted is a LOT closer to our practice than it is to the actual text. And they are almost 180 degrees opposite each other.

      Its almost like the Jesus is talking Chinese to the idiot husband.

      Thanx again for your comment.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. T. F. Thompson · March 22

    In comparing poverty or riches…did Solomon have A/C, watches, tv, telephones, autos, sneakers, medicine such as we know it, and the list goes on.
    Even the poorest kid in the USA has a cellphone. “Poor’ kids out of the hood go to school wearing Nikes. It used to tick me off when ‘poor’ kids came into my classroom wearing all designer clothes, Nitendos, cd players, $300 worth of cds, etc, without so much as a pencil saying their home couldn’t afford a comptuer. I asked them to sell their x-boxes and Play Stations, but i knew where that was going to go.

    In the late 60s I was a community organizer. We were taught that poverty as we knew it here in the states was mostly a state of mind. And Jesus address all of that. Yes, it is spirit, but our minds play on our spirit. And if we were to examine the spirit worth of our country, our churches, we’d discover for all practical means, we are BANKRUPT!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. LoiterLarry · March 26

    Nice!

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s