Archives For rich

Naked

Erik Cooper —  January 20, 2010 — 7 Comments

4:32AM: I was startled from my blissful slumber to the tiny little voice of our four-year-old son standing next to our bed.  He was soaking wet, the victim of a failed attempt to get him sleeping through the night diaper-free.  Some nights he crosses that finish line.  This night, not so much.

I sent him to our bathroom, instructed him to remove the wet pajamas, and then headed off through the dark to his bedroom to retrieve some dry ones.  Just a few groggy moments later, I returned to find a skinny, soaked, and completely naked little boy shivering miserably on the freezing tile of the bathroom floor. It was pitiful.

I quickly dressed him, gathered him in my arms, and returned us both to the down-comforted warmth of my bed. Snuggled firmly between my wife, me, and our 4 pound Yorkie named Buzz, we all slowly drifted back to sleep.  All was right with the world again.

But I can’t forget the heartbreaking image I returned to find in our cold, dark bathroom that night.  It reminded me of…me.

“You say, ‘I am rich. I have everything I want. I don’t need a thing!’ And you don’t realize that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked. So I advise you to buy gold from me—gold that has been purified by fire. Then you will be rich. Also buy white garments from me so you will not be shamed by your nakedness, and ointment for your eyes so you will be able to see.(Rev. 3:17-18 NLT)

We’re good at trying to clothe ourselves. We’re tough.  Rich.  Smart.  Religious.  Self-confident.  Educated.  Put together.  Relationally savvy.  Pick your preferred brand of “clothing.”

But all too often these are  just facades we manufacture to mask our need for Someone bigger than us to enter the garment-making business.  Underneath it all, we’re just as pitiful as my shivering, naked, four year old son standing on a cold tile floor in the middle of the night, waiting for Daddy to return with dry pajamas.

I wonder what God is waiting to do if we just admit it?

http://www.beyondtherisk.com

85 Beautiful Cents

Erik Cooper —  August 13, 2009 — 4 Comments

Our amazing volunteer bookkeeper came by the office today and told me what may perhaps become my favorite story since the launch of City Community Church (and that’s saying something).  This past weekend as the team was counting the offering, she found a dirty little plastic bag with 85 cents in it.  Not three shiny quarters and a new nickel, but lots of filthy pennies, nickles, and dimes.  The coins were so dirty she had to soak them in Pepsi to try and clean them off before adding them to the weekly deposit.

Now there’s no way to know who put those in there (if you’re reading this and it’s you, and I totally have it wrong, my apologies).  But one of the things I’ve loved so much about this church right in the heart of downtown Indy is that we literally have homeless guys sitting next to millionaires each week.  I just have this picture of one of our homeless friends spending days collecting those coins from storm grates, sidewalks, and gutters around the downtown streets, wrapping them carefully in a recycled plastic bag, and eagerly bringing them to church this past Sunday.  Who knows?

But I do know that every penny matters to God because it’s never about the money, it’s about what the money represents in our lives.  And just like Jesus’ encounter with the poor widow who put her last pennies in the Temple box (Mark 12:41-43), these 85 beautiful cents mean as much to Him as if it were a million dollar gift.  That’s cool.

Open Hand

Erik Cooper —  January 30, 2009 — Leave a comment

A lot of the fear & stress we deal with on a daily basis stems from trying to hold onto things we have:  money, resources, relationships, perspectives, dreams of the future.  Obviously, none of those things is bad.  But we must learn to hold them loosely.  Rich or poor, full or empty, whether life is panning out exactly according to our plan, we have to keep from holding too tightly to anything, even a mindset or a future expectation.

Jesus…“rich as He was, He gave it all away for us – in one stroke he became poor and we became rich.” (2 Cor. 8:9 MSG)

Just like Jesus…learn to live life with an open hand.