||2018-09-18 18:53:16, 조회 : 49, 추천 : 13
| Abraham Yim|
September 19th, 2018 - Wednesday
O. S. Guinness - Doing Well and Doing Good
Chapter One - Part Five - Money - Medium of Exchange or Mammon?
Today we are going into Chapter One - Part Give - Money - Medium of Exchange or Mammon? Last week, we started to describe the first traditional problem with money. We went over the idea of avarice and the idea of insatiability. We looked into different quotes and texts that strengthened the destructive qualities of money. Today, we are going to look at the Biblical evidence.
It is true that the Bible also agrees that money has a quality of insatiability. The Old Testament says that the only gain we receive is vanity, emptiness, and futility. The New Testament says the only gain we get from chasing money is loss. O. S. Guinness has us look into Ecclesiastes 2:1-11, and 5:10. It is agreed that the book of Ecclesiastes was written by King Solomon. As we know, King Solomon was rich, wise, and he lacked nothing. Yet, such a successful man still utters this poetic statement: “10 I denied myself nothing my eyes desired; I refused my heart no pleasure. My heart took delight in all my labor, and this was the reward for all my toil. 11 Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun.” and “10 Whoever loves money never has enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with their income. This too is meaningless.” The wise, King Solomon, realized that “nothing was gained under the sun.”
In the New Testament, there are several statements that may seem inflammatory towards the rich, but rather, it is denouncing the attitude towards wealth. We see in Matthew 16:26, Jesus rhetorically asking, “‘What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?’” It seems almost comedic to think of a person working his life to build up his riches, just to lose his life and his spirit in the end. When we realize that a lifetime is miniscule to eternity, we can finally let the horror and fear sink in, as we think: what the hell have I been doing my whole life?
We look into a man named Leo Tolstoy. He was a Russian novelist and social reformer. He was well known for his novels War and Peace and Anna Karenina. However, he later denounced his literary ambitions and took up writing on religious and moral texts. We are going to look into the concluding statement of his moral tale called, “How Much Land Does a Man Need?”
O. S. Guinness gives us a short introduction to this story. Pahom is a Russian farmer that buys and sells land to increase his holding, but he is never satisfied. He learns of an incredibly good deal, and he travels east to meet with a man named Bashkirs. Bashkirs offers to sell him as much land as he can navigate on foot in one day. It is his passionate insatiability that inevitably leads to his doom.
The chief comes to Pahom, and shows him the vast plains that he is offering Pahom. The chief placed his fox-fur on the ground, and he said here is the mark; you will start from here and return here. Pahom took out his money, and he put the sack onto the fox-fur. Pahom took off his outer coat, rolled up his sleeves, took water, bread, and a shovel. He looked more than ready to start. He wanted to go everywhere and get all the land, but he knew it wasn’t possible so he said, “I will go towards the rising sun.”
It was early in the morning, when Pahom started, he wanted to start before the sun had a chance to weather him down. As he continued, he started to warm up; therefore, Pahom began to quicken his pace. After walking some more, Pahom decided to take a small break, and he took off his boots. He decided to walk another three miles, and then turn left. He believed that would be the best place to turn because the land was so fine. Pahom continued walking until he believed he had gone far enough. He took a sharp left turn, and he continued to pick up speed. He started to tire, and he dug a hole and took refuge in it. He drank, and he ate. He started to grow tired, but he knew he had no time to sleep. He started walking, and he realized that he had made this line too long, so he started walking back trying to fix the dimension. He realized that he had wasted too much time trying to fix the dimension, and he started to make his way back to the chief. The sun was already going towards the horizon, and Pahom started to worry. He began to quicken his pace even more, his legs ached terribly. All Pahom could think about was his chance of failure. Although he was getting closer to the chief, the Sun seemed to be beating him as it raced towards the horizon. He began to run frantically. Anxious thoughts continued to race in his mind. He kept worrying and thinking about losing this amazing chance. The Sun started to kiss the rim of the horizon, and so Pahom knew he had to put all his might. As he ran and ran and ran, he could see the sun start to wave away its last rays. As he got closer and closer to the chief, Pahom continued to go faster and faster. Finally, Pahom leaped for the fox-fur to signify that he has made it back. Pahom’s legs gave way, and Pahom fell forward. The chief congratulated Pahom: “Ah, that’s a fine fellow. He has gained much land.” The other members of the chief’s tribe also said words of praise. However, Pahom didn’t respond. Pahom’s servant came to Pahom’s aid, but he realized that Pahom had blood coming from his mouth: he had died. The chief and his tribe showed their pity. The servant picked up Pahom’s spade and dug a grave for him. Six feet from his head to his heels was all he needed, in the end.
We end today’s lesson with this story. I tried my best to retell the story whilst also making it more concise due to our time constraints. However, when I first read this, I was dumbfounded. I do not understand why, we put ourselves in a position of suffering. We set a goal for ourselves, and we make sure we don’t score. We understand that the only one who can bring us happiness is God, but we still look for an alternative. I hope we can take a piece from this lesson and understand our own destructive habits.
1) What are some destructive habits - related to greed and insatiability - do you see in your own life? I know we can all answer this, so please have an answer in your head whilst others answer.
2) In what ways do you see Pahom in your own life, and in the people around you? What is the furthest you have seen someone go for money?
3) Pahom’s body ached horribly - a sign for him to take rest. Why did Pahom continue journeying even though his body was in extreme discomfort? How can we see this in our workforce?
4) What are some things we can practice to help us remember to be humble and respectful of our wealth?