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September 27, 2013

“In our current message series we are looking at what we are calling “breathing room.” This weekend we want to get to the root cause of our problems when it comes to our struggle with breathing room. Why do we gravitate towards a lifestyle that drowns out breathing room? It’s true:

  • Modern life pushes us to our limits, but so often it’s not much of a push, because we are more than willing to go.
  • Our culture encourages debt, but we don’t need a lot of encouragement because something in us loves to spend.
  • You promised yourself that this year you would stay ahead of your homework, and you’re still staying up till 2 in the morning doing it.
  • You resolved that you would not get sucked up into family drama once again, and once again there you are, it just presents itself and you can’t resist.

Why do we keep going to those places where breathing room is impossible ?

A little story in Luke’s Gospel gives us some insight. The story starts like this:

“There was a rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day.

And at his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus, full of sores, who desired to be fed with what fell from the rich man’s table.”

Luke 16. 19-20

Jesus was an amazing storyteller and in a few quick verses he paints this very clear picture of disparity between a rich man, who he doesn’t name and a poor man named Lazarus.

The rich man clothes himself in an expensive way and enjoys a lavish lifestyle. The poor man was beyond poverty, he was destitute. But what makes the image so compelling is the juxtaposition of the two alongside of one another. Often poverty seeks to hide itself, wealth to separate itself, but here they are on display side-by side.

Most of us have probably never witnessed a scene like this (unless you’ve been on a mission trip perhaps). If you’ve been on mission with us to Haiti, you’ve seen this. You come out of the airport and it is surrounded by a tall heavy fence, topped with barbed wire, and thousands of people are crammed up against it, clamoring and begging for anything: money, food, stuff, attention, anything. It is an amazingly disturbing scene.

The poor man wants crumbs and scraps from the table, something, anything…the rich man just wants one thing: more.

There is nothing in the story to suggest that the rich man was cruel or even complacent. He just didn’t see the poor man because he was busy… pursuing more. His more was pleasure, the best clothes and finest food. And meanwhile he missed out on the reality right in front of him, and the good he could have accomplished there.

Same for us: We don’t lack breathing room because of complacency, or bad luck or misfortune, or the demands of those around us, surely none of us are cruel or even mean spirited. That’s not why, no we lack breathing room because of our undisciplined pursuit of more.

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