Sunday, April 29, 2012

A Piece of the Rock
There’s an old commercial tag line that says, “Own a piece of the rock.” And, you know, we really all want to do just that.   We want total security. We want security for our homes, our neighborhoods, and our schools. We want the latest in alarm systems for homes, cars, schools, and businesses. We want insurance to protect us from financial loss. We want insurance to protect us from the high cost of health care.  But insurance companies go bankrupt, and the annuities we were counting on for retirement can just disappear. We can have diseases that our insurance doesn’t cover. Yet we believe we really can own a piece of the rock, meaning that we can be totally safe, secure, and protected.  But folks, this just ain’t so. When we lived in Boston, we left our house unlocked when we weren’t there and locked when we were there. Friends warned us that there had been break-ins in the neighborhood. But think about that. If the houses were broken into, they had to have been locked – and it didn’t stop the thieves. Professional thieves can break into anything if they think it is worth the risk.  My theory was that if a thief encountered an unlocked door, he would assume that people were at home and go elsewhere. Other homes in our neighborhood had break-ins, but we never did. I’m not advocating this for everyone everywhere, but the point I want to make is that there is no home that is an impregnable fortress.
There is no seat belt/air bag combination that will always save your life. You can minimize risk. You can even have total replacement cost on your valuables, but the real valuables you own are irreplaceable.  No amount of money can replace the family pictures, the plate your daughter made in third grade, or the quilt handed down from your great-grandmother. The things that really have value to you cannot ever be adequately insured.
We are foolish to try so hard to be protected from all ills when cancer can find its way into the youngest, healthiest of bodies. We simply cannot protect ourselves from drunken drivers, mass shootings, terrorist attacks, or even from the kids in our own neighborhood. Now you should lock your doors, walk your children to school, use your seat belts, eat healthy, exercise, and drive safely. God certainly wants you to do all you can to stay in service to others.  Think for a minute about taxi drivers in big cities. They cruise around picking up fares they don’t know and run the risk of being robbed or attacked every time. Yet most people are thankful when the cab stops to pick them up. I’ve tried to get cabs late at night in Boston and New York City, and it sure feels good when you see one coming by with its in-service light on. (For those of you unfamiliar with cabs, they have a light on the roof that tells you whether they are available.)
We are truly a foolish people if we think we can own a piece of the rock and thus not worry. We need to do what we say on our money. “In God We Trust.” The problem comes when we trust ourselves and not God. If we trust God, we should be looking for ways to be in service to God and for God.  When my life on this world runs out, I hope people can say that the last time they saw me – whatever I was doing – my “in-service” light was on. Real security only comes from God. It is not anything that we can do that will protect us, but if we have given our hearts to God, nothing can separate us from his love.  Jesus reminded us that the two greatest commandments were to love God and to love our neighbors. There are no commandments about financial security or home security. In fact, we are told in no uncertain terms not to pile up treasure on earth but to pile up treasure in heaven, for where our treasure is, there our heart is also.  Let go of your piece of the rock of this earth and grab onto the rock (“Rock of Ages”) that is the peace of God. That peace is the only security you really need.

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