READINGOld Testament: Jeremiah 5:1-9
Psalms: Psalms 69
New Testament: Romans 2:25-3:18
Gospel: John 5:30-47
Evening Psalms: Psalms 73
“But as for me, my feet had almost slipped; I had nearly lost my foothold. For I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.”
I grew up in the 50’s; it was a simpler time. Winters were cold in the Midwest, so outdoor activities were how we spent our playtime. There was a flat vacant lot next to my house that the town flooded as an ‘ice rink’. My dad would keep it shoveled for all the neighborhood kids. I learned to ice skate at the age of 4.
Our house was small and heated with coal. Mom made most of my clothes and, every once in a while, I would get a dress from Kresge’s (anyone remember those stores?). My summer toys included a used tricycle and a used wagon. A galvanized wash tub was my pool. I have nothing but fond early childhood memories of that simpler time.
Then came 6th grade and a new reality that would nag me for years to come. Until that point, I didn’t know my family was poor. My ‘friend’ Cindy was the pivotal person to drive that realization home. Cindy went to private ice skating lessons, had a big house, a tandem bike, and shopped at exclusive stores in Birmingham… you get the picture. Life’s material inequities would haunt me for years.
Psalm 73 should be read by everyone. It describes the disparities of life and how less-than-nice people sometimes prosper while other people struggle as they work hard and try to be good. There were times in my life when bitterness over such disparities weighed me down. I did attain a little material wealth, but would never have what many others had.
One day, God spoke firmly to me, “You have more than most.” The realization was made quite clear. Material assets are irrelevant. God walking with us and holding our hand, even when we’ve fallen, is what is important.
“...The Lord is my Shelter and He is mine forever…” (Psalm 73:26)