What does a dragon do with all of that gold, I wonder.
What does a dragon do with all that gold, I wonder.
For a human or a hobbit or perhaps even a leprechaun, a chunk of change is a matter of great significance, maybe the difference between a life of struggle and one of stability or status. But what use does a solitary mountain dweller have with something he can’t eat, wear, or trade? Does gold even matter to him at all?
In parenting circles, experts refer to annoying but harmless actions like eye-rolling or whining as “junk behavior.” Now, I am not enough of a dragon guru to say if they are prone to tantrums, but members of my own house have been known to brood over a hoard of what we like to call “junk power.” In one fiery sneeze, the culprit will swipe another’s favorite toy just for a rise, or take a verbal jab that leaves the rest of us scratching our heads saying, “Wow, you’re so clever! I wonder where you are going to spend all that power?” I wish I could claim immunity here, but in our strange times, which of us hasn’t dropped into bed puzzling at some odd molehill on which we chose to die that day?
Speaking of these strange times, there has been much discussion as to what or who “matters.” It was a study of the book of Ecclesiastes with some friends that first got me chewing on this word: “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.” (Eccl. 3:1) But this meaning of “matter” as “a situation” is only one of at least 3 ways we use the word. Consider two others: “matter” as a verb “to be of importance or significance,” and “matter” as “the physical substance or stuff of the world.”
As with many words, it’s in the overlap of meanings where the real punch is felt. The situations that typically end up getting the highest priority to me are the ones that bump into my physical stuff: (my roof is leaking, my coffee shop burnt down, my child is in danger, my friend is immune-compromised). I can empathize and publicize worthy causes all day long, but until they intersect my life it often remains theoretical. The matters that truly matter most to me are the ones that affect my matter.
We live in a time when everything seems urgent; all day every day, our awareness is raised toward issues of great importance. And yet ironically, for all our time in “cyberspace”, we are perhaps (pandemic aside) more disconnected than ever from the people, places, and things of our physical “meat space.” Can everything and everyone “matter” to me? I am still one particular person viewing the world from one tiny chunk of dirt, locked in one moment in time and history. And I can barely keep anyone’s underwear clean.
As it turns out, I am still not a god. Everything seems to matter, yet much of my “care” boils down to hoarding “junk power” and self-justification. And even on a good day, influence of the lasting kind feels elusive. In this season of tiny family moments and large-scale upheavals, Jayson and I feel more aware than ever that life is a fleeting vapor lived in the present tense by faith, and our work is a gift from the Lord. Maybe our times aren’t so strange after all…
In any case, they are no mystery to our Lord Jesus who “mattered” himself to enter our space and time in the flesh to change everything. From his unique place as eternal and yet embodied, he shoulders the full importance of the nitty-gritty stuff of every situation throughout all of history. Just, unjust, mundane, monumental, tragic, and trivial, it all matters to him. Every moment of every person is seen and known for what it truly is, and he has never and will never look away.
In our fight to not live like the dragon whose grabs for control leave him with a false wealth of isolation, our family has been memorizing chunks of Galatians 5:13-17 and 1 Corinthians 13:1-8. We press on with home and community life and Jesus Film ministry, fixing our eyes on the prize — not of self-centered rightness and power, but on Holy-Spirit-freedom to love, serve and sacrifice in whatever ways He puts before us. After all, he went first, and our life is hidden in His riches. Thank you for your partnership in this work!
Many folks have wondered about our financial needs in the rough economy. One of the benefits of missionary work is job stability and a “diversified” income. Thankfully, things have not changed too much yet for us in that regard, though we have seen the normal shortfalls and medical expenses with Mae’s birth in the ballpark of $5,000. If you’d like to consider a special gift to help fill that gap, we would be grateful.We always love hearing what the Lord is doing in your corner of the world as well, so either way please let us know how we can pray for you.
Many folks have wondered about our financial needs in the rough economy. One of the benefits of missionary work is job stability and a “diversified” source of income. Thankfully, things have not changed too much yet for us in that regard. We always love hearing what the Lord is doing in your corner of the world as well, so either way please let us know how we can pray for you
Much love from all of us,
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