Looking at a new Bible software on my computer, I came across some of John Wesley’s notes. Amazingly, I can look up his or Matthew Henry’s famous commentary on almost any passage of scripture.
Along with much of the imagery in the book of Genesis, we put the devil in a storage closet, to be sorted through at a later date. Maybe when Halloween comes around. We can get behind the New Testament “neighbor” talk, and even loving the lepers, but the “devil” seems to be a poorly drawn cartoon character, an ill-willed fast food mascot that belongs with the Hamburglar and the like. Our college education interferes with belief in an evil tooth fairy.
Clarity arrives in reverse. The picture created by the puzzle materializes fully only when the pieces configure in final combination. When scattered and strewn upon a table, the fractured picture is not a picture at all, but instead a chaotic mess of meaningless shards. Although it carries the potential for something whole, in its uncompleted state, it remains something of the not-yet.
In the 1990s, a prominent New York NBA player complained that the players in the league couldn’t feed their families on the average NBA salary, which was $ 1 million a year in 1991. He couldn’t feed his family on six zeros? Was his family a small nation?
This thought stays with me in my more enlightened moments: nothing is mine. To that end, or to move toward that end, I try to avoid saying something is mine. I try to say, “The car I drive,” rather than “my car”, or “the place I stay,” rather than “my apartment”. This comes fairly easily, since the computer I use belongs to my employer; the apartment belongs to the landlord; the car belongs to a bank; and the clothes I wear have mostly been given me. I don’t even own my bed or desk.