I do not give my possessions, my life out of guilt of being born middle class.
Rather, I recognize, being born middle class American, white, male, educated and it implies, that I am called by Jesus to a certain path of justice. Everyone is called to a path of justice. For most of us, it is enough that if we have two coats, we will give one who has none. For some of us, we must seek a path of balance between work and rest, between giving and being given to. And that is good.
But to the rich young ruler, Jesus called a greater calling. He said, "Give ALL that you have to the poor and then take up your cross and follow me." This is a deeper path of justice. The path I was called to.
This is the path of Jesus. The balanced, the strong, those who have greater resources, must surrender, not to a balance, but to an excess. Why is this? Because the injustice in our world is excessive. Some must surrender all, so that some may have some. There is no way in the world that everyone in the world will have what they need unless everyone shares of what they have. So some must be chosen to give all, absolutely everything.
This is the path of Peter and the apostles.
This is the path of Paul.
This is the path of Moses who wasn't called until he was 80 and then surrendered what little he had so he could be God's tool to lead his people out of Egypt and into justice.
This is the path of Elijah, who surrendered his mental health so he could lead God's people away from Baal.
Even closer, my path is the path of Barnabas, who surrendered what he did not need to so that the poor and the foreigner could have some.
Okay, so what is my cross? What is my limit?
Admittedly, I wish that I had suffered from a heart attack or a stroke. That is as clear of a message I could get-- and gives a finality that cannot be turned away.
But that's not what I got. Here are my real symptoms:
I am overwhelmed by people.
I can't look anyone in the eye. To talk to another human being, I have to look down.
If someone asks me a question, be it ever so simple, I struggle to find the will to answer.
It used to be I could solve all problems, now any problem is overwhelming.
Today, a trusted person had allowed another (not-so-trusted) homeless into our private facility, after he had been told many times not to. I yelled at the person he had let in (because she had been in the facility before and knew she shouldn't be there), and I yelled at him... but in my heart there was such rage that could not be controlled. I had to leave, so I did. I came back with food and then I left again. I couldn't talk to anyone, couldn't even hear a question. I was finished.
What is the path of justice now for me to follow? I still have the physical ability to give food to others. I am incapable of leading, of providing spiritual guidance, but I could (in theory), follow my system to provide food, hope, work.
I have cried to the Lord, many times, asking Him to escape this path, because it is too much for me. It is the prayer of Elijah, who asked God to kill him, because he was done. God's answer to Elijah was to accomplish three more tasks and then he was done.
I am not sure what I am hearing from God.
But this is true: The poor man can cry out to the Lord for help, and the Lord will answer him, and give him a path that meets his needs.
The rich man, however, may not tell the poor man, "Ask the Lord for help and he will help you," for the Lord did give the poor man help. He gave him the rich man, and the rich man refuses to help the needy, and this will be a judgment against him.
I am the rich man.
Am I refusing the poor, by claiming my mental weaknesses are enough to tell the poor, "Go and seek the Lord"?
What is the path of justice for me now?
A cross would be a fitting end.
Or a chariot of fire.
Or a heart attack or stroke.
But mental weakness?