SANDCASTLES

Hendrix wrote and sang “Castles made of sand melt into the sea… eventually.”It occurs to me that selfish individualism is one major funnel-down as to why so many people hurt today. They not only hurt themselves but others due to this.I am thinking not only of the obvious such as, dictators who rape and pillage the country they supposedly serve and lead but also of average individuals in the world who seek at core, to build and maintain their own personal kingdom.What I am not saying is that all people everywhere in every decision ignore, overlook or otherwise trash everyone they are in contact with. What I am indeed saying is that all of us are tempted and at times for no other reason than we don’t like the feel of X, Y or Z cause others damage various levels because not getting our way rocks our personal boat.Keeping with the boat metaphor, Jesus shows up and does things like telling professional fishermen where the fish are.Think about that.All of us think we know what real life is or should be. So did Peter, James and John.When someone challenges our illustrious dream at least some of us want to fight or at perhaps talk them down or we may default to considering them a threat or just plain idiotic and disregard their thoughts and concepts straightaway.I have done this myself so don’t think I’m pointing all my fingers outward here!Self, in my view, is largely responsible for long-term hardening of the heart, extreme defensiveness, continual running from (or breaking up) relationships of love and trust, blame-shifting and “it’s none of your business if I do” attitudes.Unless you live on a deserted island alone and never have contact with other human beings, your selfishness will eventually affect others. That is certainly true of my selfishness and everyone else’s as well.Self is the constant companion and culprit: not the devil, the church, cops, anyone else who crosses me- or who has truly (or who I think has) abused me in some way.I mean, many of us have suffered due to these, but self… well… self is a core and continual part of -me-!Jesus commanded us (literally) to love our self, love our neighbor AS we love our-self. So there certainly a proper and right sort of self-love, seeing ourselves as God sees, loves and values us- but this is not what I am talking about here.I’m simply repeating what I’ve said many times, this idea of living as though we are God and have some sort of right to judge everyone by what we got or didn’t get from them is a serious monkey we need off our back. In part, because it sometimes neglect and other times attacks others.When your kingdom is as selfish, petty and small as a false god’s always is, who to blame but… self?We all make our own choices. Do we make them based on the true God and His Word or is that unusual for us?Is it more common or rather a rarity for us to consider and then choose sacrifice for another’s benefit?Now, the balance:Some reading this are likely saying “Dude, what about ME once in a while?” and my answer is “Give and it will be given to you, good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over. For with the same measure you measure it will be measured back to you”.Believe me, I can truly be a selfish clod but these words of Jesus are not about trading our gain for our sacrifice, nor our sacrifice only for rewards.I do not believe He is saying “If you suffer I will reward you in an exchange sort of deal for services rendered!” Rather the Lord is saying “Don’t worry about getting paid back, just give and watch how you reap what you sow… I will see to it you are richer in various ways than you were when you lived a fully self-centered lifestyle. Let that sort of life be done with for you!”Things like “It is more blessed to give than receive” ring in my head. It’s not about getting. He is simply saying “GIVE, don’t worry about blessings, don’t sweat getting anything or fret or worry or get mean about life- because My gifts and blessings will come in the normal course of life when you live as I modeled and taught you to live!”But oh how we want a return for our labor! And further, what WE deem fair trade is quite near the top of our false self-godhood claim.If you and I got what was fair, it would be hell. Nobody can earn the true God’s love. No one is righteous, not even one. All of us like sheep wander off from time to time, but what a sad world this is, mostly due to phony kings and queens seeking to rule fake kingdoms.Jesus said “when the storms come” not “if the storms come”. Storms and flooding melt our sandcastles every time. Only those houses built on rock will remain in the end.Those fishermen whom Jesus called turned the world upside down with a Good News that still changes lives for the better- for eternity.Most of them were martyred in the bargain. Did it hurt? You bet! Did their own kingdoms remain? Not a one of them. But by the time they left this earthly coil they had fully traded sandcastles for another kingdom, one that has no end- and but one King.

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