I was reading the editor's note in last weekend's Canvas magazine. She talked about not comparing ourselves to those better off than us - or those worse off than us. It's not helpful, she said - then proceeded to regale the readers with all of the things that had gone wrong during her personal building project. Apparently it's hard to feel grateful for having a roof over your head when some of your belongings are stored in the carport.
Jesus talked about seed falling on ground covered in thorns. i.e. letting the worries of our life strangle the crop yield in our lives. Very often we can stare frustrated as the map on our phone doesn't download quickly enough, or we complain about report quality with our work colleagues, or we get annoyed when our dishwasher stops working. All of these things are like thorns - stealing our joy and making us behave more selfishly.
Steven Pinker in his book 'Enlightenment Now' can show that 137,000 people are brought out of poverty every single day. It should be exciting to know that when Jesus prayed 'Your kingdom come', it is coming to fruition. And yet, people are not getting happier. We are living longer, becoming wealthier and healthier, becoming more intelligent - and still rates of mental illness are increasing.
People need Jesus - more than ever. As this world battles for our attention through marketing and social media, how do we give the words of Jesus the space that they need to grow?
Thank you Lord for your example of living an upside-down life, and please give us the courage to do your work selflessly.