Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Jesus and the rich, young executive

Now as He was leaving, a rich young ruler came running and knelt before him. He asked him, "All wise and knowing Teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life and really have it all?"
He replied, "Son, stop trying to kiss up. No one deserves to be called 'all wise and knowing' except God. I will not be added to your portfolio by flattery. Now, I assume you used to attend Sunday School before you became a hard man on the make, so you know the score: "Do not commit adultery,' "Do not murder,' "Do not steal,' "Do not bear false witness,' "Do not defraud,' "Honor your father and your mother."'

The young man beamed with pride and said to Him, "Teacher, I still go to Sunday School and all these things I have kept since I was a little fellow. I have always avoided the 'sinful' parts of this world."

The Master raised his eyebrow at this."You mean you have never connected the dots between the mileage on your Land Rover and the trenchs cut deep into the seedier parts of the town?"

The young man looked truly baffled.

The Master said, "Do you not know how many lives have been maimed and crippled on the other side of the world to boost your bottom line?" The young executive squirmed and said,
"Oh Noooo, what goes on down the supply chain is beyond my control. Did I mention that I helped fund a drive to send Bibles to those poor parts of the world."
"Yes, I know." replied the Teacher. "Those people sure appreciate the insulation you provided for their walls of their huts, but they have found all of that thin paper to be a poor source of dietary fiber." The executive was beginning to get that look on his face that his employees had learned to fear.

"As for this not bearing false witness and not defrauding stuff...What about that report buried in your desk that says your product causes ovarian cancer? And how about that entry level sales staff of yours that has to meet the quotas of a used car lot to pay the mortgage and keep health insurance for their families? You have climbed the corporate ladder on the rungs of their lies." The rich young executive did not like this at all and it showed in the way he said, "The government does not require me to publish those findings. How did you know about an internal memo in my desk? I have never personally told the sales team to lie."

The Teacher winced at the sharp distinctions in his ethics and then he heard the young man blurt out, "Well, I have never cheated on my wife! Nope. No adultery here." The Master shook his head and spoke in a sad tone, "You are married to your job. Son, you have traded intimacy with your wife for a career and a few sneaked glimpses of porn. You do not even remember your wife's favorite color. Strangers are practically raising your children. You have never understood that being faithful to your marriage vows means more than not taking a mistress."

The young man could not stand it any longer. "Look hereI I go to church every Sunday. My leather study Bible is marked with devotional notes that I wrote in it. I play golf with the Bible study leader once a month and give him financial advice. I steer the building fund campaign for our parish youth center. If not for my faithful tithe we would not have new weight equipment in the church gymnasium. I voted for all of the right candidates just like the church voter guide said to. I listen to religious broadcasting at work. I even invited the caddie at the country club to a Christian music concert." By now he was yelling, "What MORE can you expect of me?"

The Master, looking at him, truly loved him, and said to him, "One thing you lack: Go your way, sell all of your stock options and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; I want you to buy less and live more. Stop driving your SUV up and down the road in search of the lowest prices for more fossil fuel. Start caring about this planet and all of those "invisible" people in it. You are really connected to it all. Everything is connected in God's world and everything has to go somewhere.
I want you take up my burden, grab your family and join me on this great adventure. You will discover that eternal life is not a investment dividend that one inherits one day, but a life you experience along the way. Follow me to God's domain on yon horizon and find out what it really means to be rich in life.

The young man was sad at this word and very annoyed that he was going to be late for his board meeting. He went away sorrowful, for he had great stock options. The Master shook his head as he said out loud to his motley band of followers who had witnessed the exchange, " It is easier for a rusted, 1978 Pinto, bounciing with rap music, to enter the security gates of a gated community than it is for the rich to enter into the real life God offers." The followers were shocked and moaned, "Oh, Lord, who then can be saved?"

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Blogger Pat O'Leary said...

Sad, sad story. We've so much to learn. I have to console myself with the one line you omitted " With God ...all things are possible".
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