30 January 2011


English Club- A place for language learners to use English in a casual setting.

Last week I joined a local English Club cause I've noticed lately that my English is really regressing. I even heard myself say "ain't" recently.

Ha! Just kidding. I joined cause it's fun to talk with someone who isn't three years old. And it's also part of my new 'spice up my life' personal campaign. I've been involved in English Clubs in the past. The discussions are usually quite interesting so I was kinda excited . But what took me by surprise is how much the topic got ME thinking too.

The topic (led by the very talented and capable Miss L) was "What does it mean to be successful?"

(quiet moment for pondering)

Big question, right?

The locals' answers were the expected smattering of "Be successful at my job" "Have a family" "Do what I love" "Be happy" "Make a difference in the world" with the occasional "Obey God" thrown in . Oh yeah, and one very odd "Satisfy my wife" from one young unmarried man.

(awkward silence)

My answer was different. My answer, as you can expect, was also about obeying and pleasing God, but I also mentioned that as a wife and a Mama... that the more I can give up my own needs and desires for the needs and desires of others... that that is a mark of success for me. And that I want to love others like God has loved me. And like L said... that this life is essentially not about this life, but the next life. That it's about knowing Jesus and pleasing Him.

It was quiet. People listened. People nodded. I heard one 'Wow'.

Now readers, you know I don't have it altogether, right? Good.

Let's just make sure that is clear. I can think about these things and say them to a room full of people and post them in my own little corner of cyber-space, but it doesn't mean that it's easy to do day in and day out. It's just what I (and maybe I can speak for other believers) spend my life/our lives striving for.

Aaanyway, when the discussion wrapped up and L and I were walking home I realized how completely opposite our goals should actually be from the goals that seem to be the norm in this life on Earth.

Maybe it's no coincidence that I've been studying The Beatitudes lately.

Where Jesus says...

Blessed (Enviably happy) are the poor in spirit (those who rate themselves insignificant), for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek (patient and long-suffering),
for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled (they'll be completely satisfied!).
Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called Children of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness (for being and doing right before God),
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven...

So basically, Jesus says (amongst other things):

If you think of yourself as insignificant, if you are sad, if you are meek, if you are hungry, if people hate you and insult you... then CONGRATULATIONS!... You are among the most blessed people on earth.

There's really no mention of "Blessed are those who become a master in their career" or "Blessed are those who can buy whatever they want" or "Blessed are those who are friends with everyone."

I'm not saying He damns people who fit those categories, either. Don't misunderstand me. Those people can still be blessed... but I don't think it's where we'll find true happiness or blessed-ness.

Don't we tend to spend our lives striving towards gaining respect and favor from others?... how badly we want to be liked! We try to cheer ourselves when we're sad... we don't want to be mournful people. We don't want to be meek, so we try to pinpoint our weaknesses so that we can make them into strengths. And we generally hate to have any sort of hunger...

Jesus is so opposite.

So beautifully, supernaturally, wonderfully opposite.

(Passage is from Matthew 5: 3-12, The Message, parenthesis from The Amplified Bible.)

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