The scripture readings for the 18th Sunday in Ordinary Time 2016 about vanity, earthly pleasures, and greed reminded me of a story I read once. I can’t remember where I found it or who wrote it, but it went something like this.
A family had done very well financially and had moved into a beautiful, spacious, and expensive home. The husband had done extremely well in his profession and they would be able to live in great material comfort. This family, who had a strong faith in God, were grateful for the blessings they received. One of the first things that went on their living room wall was an unassuming print of Jesus Christ. The husband insisted it belonged in the prominent place directly above the piano. His wife, who had hired a decorator, would have preferred the print be placed in a bedroom and, of course, the decorator declared that the cheap print was not appropriate for their home at all. The husband was unmoved and the print stayed. The wife had to evaluate her conflicting emotions. What would the people at the country club think when they saw the inexpensive print? Would their friends think they were “common” or worse, that they were religious fanatics?
What actually happened was quite the opposite.
A salesman who came to their home remarked that the eyes of Christ seemed to follow him as he walked through the room. Close friends commented frequently that they felt so welcome and peaceful in their home. Other folks who visited started sharing their stories and even felt comfortable asking the family to pray for them. The husband and wife themselves began to limit their time at the country club and discovered they had a gift for working with troubled teenagers. They shared their wealth with others when they knew of a need. They couldn’t help but think that the presence of Christ portrayed in a cheap print had truly helped them remember that when they focused on Christ, they could no longer exclusively focus on their own needs and wants. They knew they weren’t perfect, but they also knew they could make a difference right where they lived.
Live your lives in the presence of the Lord. Blessings to each of you on your own journey of faith!