Do you ever feel the need to escape? Human nature can drive us to flee the monotony of life. When boredom sets in, we’ll say we’re “stuck in a rut” and try almost anything to break free. We’ll immerse ourselves in the distant stories of fantastic, non-fiction world of Harry Potter; we obsess over the hyper-publicized and often tragically broken lives of celebrities like Kim Kardasian and Tiger Woods; we dream about vacations to exotic lands like the Island of St. Thomas or Fiji.
I always look forward to beach vacations with my family as a way to escape the drain of the mundane. It’s nice to get away and spend time with loved ones, unobstructed by the busyness of life. Oh, to not set an alarm in the morning, but wake up to the smell pancakes and scrambled eggs – there’s nothing like hot breakfast made by mom and dad! (Of course, Christine’s pancakes are still the best!) I wonder if that is but a glimpse of what life would be like in a perfect world…
To not set an alarm in the morning, but wake up to the smell pancakes and scrambled eggs - there's nothing like hot breakfast made by mom and dad!
But life in reality is dirty, isn’t it? Lives of the highest standards have been invested to pursue philosophic treasures; yet history has shown that, in reality, humanity will inevitably fall short of the political ideals for which it fights. If that is the case then, for us, perfection may be best defined as a process in which we choose to either participate or not.
Realizing that perfection cannot be achieved (at least on this side of eternity), we are in danger of giving up entirely our pursuit of ideals. We may find comfort in the status quo, and thus choose to concentrate our efforts toward its conservation. Instead of striving to escape the monotony, we dig our heels in the sand: we’ve weighed the costs, and the potential gains are not worth the personal risks of venturing into uncharted territory. But worrying about our own needs can blind us, disabling us from seeing how we fit in the bigger picture of God’s reconciliation with all of creation.
Fortunately (and unfortunately), for those of us that still pursue the unattainable, Jesus’ teaching is clear:
Just then a man came up to Jesus and asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?”
“Why do you ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied.“There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, keep the commandments.”
“Which ones?” he inquired.
Jesus replied, “‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, honor your father and mother,’ and ‘love your neighbor as yourself.'”
“All these I have kept,” the young man said. “What do I still lack?”
Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth.
Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly I tell you, it is hard for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”
What if the only way to truly escape the monotonous is to change ourselves? Or are we so “rich” with distractions that we have lost sight of Christ as the way, the truth, and the life? It’s time for us to stop running from his saving, renewing, and transforming love. So lift your heels out from the sand… and take a step of faith.