Verder Geluister: Lukas 19:1-10 (9)

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31 Oktober 2010 ~ Twee en twintigste Sondag in Koninkrykstyd: Lukas 19:1-10 (9)

Goeie nuus vir rykes! – Die hervorming van Saggeus
 
Is daar goeie nuus vir rykes?  Op die oog af lyk dit nie in die Evangelie so nie, dink maar net aan die ryk jongman se lot. Dit is makliker vir ‘n kameel om deur ‘n oog van ‘n naald te gaan as wat dit vir ‘n ryk mens is om in die koninkryk van God in te gaan… Lukas skets met sy weergawe van die evangelie soms donker prentjies oor die lot van rykes. Hulle is slawe en aanbidders van die geldgod, Mammon hoor ons. Hulle besit nie hulle skatte nie, maar word deur hulle skatte besit. Die rykes word hoofsaaklik as arrogant en as mag misbruikers beskou. Baie rykes het deur hulle hebsug, aanmatiging, uitbuiting van armes, en godloosheid, hulself willens en wetens buite die dampkring van God se genade geplaas.

En as ons onder die rykes tel, word alle rykes deur die Here afgeskryf? Nee, beslis nie! Ek het ‘n wonderlike vriend wat skatryk is, hy is op verskillende maniere aktief besig met die Here se werk, hy bring die goeie nuus na ander, sy geloof is ten volle met sy handel en wandel geïntegreer. Hy dien die Here met sy gawes. Sou Lukas se verstaan van die evangelie net slegte nuus vir hom inhou?

Gelukkig nie! Lukas skryf in die Boek Handelinge oor ryk en vername mense wat by die gemeente aangesluit het.  Daar is goeie nuus vir ryk en arm. Maar soms moet daar iets gebeur, soos met Saggeus.

Lukas skryf in sy evangelie die storie van die hooftollenaar, dis nou die persoon wat belastings hef. Saggeus was skatryk gewees. Hy was korrup, arm mense uitgebuit en oneerlike transaksies aangegaan. Ek lees vanoggend in Die Burger (23-10-2010): So is beleggers uitgebuit. Onthul: Polisie kry King-bande, terwyl ek met Saggeus se storie besig is. ‘n Belegger skryf: “Hulle (Kings) was dan kerkmense…” 
 
‘n Mens kan die afleiding maak dat Saggeus, ten spyte van sy rykdom,  ongewild, eensaam en geïsoleerd was, meer nog iets het by hom kort gekom. Hy het na iets gesoek wat nie met rand en sent te make het nie. 

Saggeus het iets nodig wat nie met sy geld gestil kon word nie, dit wat hy gesoek het was op pad om te gebeur. Hy moes ‘n plan maak om die Jesus te sien, eers probeer hy soos ‘n slang deur die skare te seil, dit werk nie, hy is te kort en toe maak hy ‘n ander plan. Kan dit wees, ‘n vooraanstaande in die samelewing klim in ‘n boom, amper soos ‘n aap, iets dryf hom, waarom sou hy so gretig wees en homself belaglik maak net om die Jesus te sien?

En toe gebeur dit, Jesus sien vir Saggeus en gaan onder sy boom staan, en noem hom nogal by die naam.  Tot almal se afkering nooi Jesus homself uit om by Saggeus te eet, so  asof  Saggeus ‘n wonderlike en vrygewige gasheer was.  En met elke stukkie brood wat hulle eet en slukkie wyn wat hulle drink, vind daar hervorming plaas. Hy word dit wat sy naam Saggeus beteken, regverdig en vol meegevoel.

Dit is dalk goed om by hierdie punt terug te kyk na die storie van die ryk jongman waaroor Lukas net in die hoofstuk voor Saggeus s’n verslag doen. ’n Gesiene, welgestelde, godsdienstige man kom na Jesus toe met die vraag: “Wat moet ek doen om die ewige lewe te beërf”. Hy het al die gebooie waaroor Jesus hom uitvra van kleins af nagekom, maar hy het een ding kort gekom wat Jesus so verwoord: “… Verkoop alles wat jy besit en gaan deel die opbrengs aan die armes uit, en jy sal ‘n skat in die hemel hê”. Dit was een te veel vir die ryk jongman om alles prys te gee waarvoor hy gewerk het en hy verloor die redding wat God gee. Dit is nie in die eerste plek dade van gee en alles verkoop wat jou red nie, maar dit gaan om ‘n geloofsverhouding met Hom en Hom te volg.

Op die oog af lyk dit of Jesus nie konsekwent is nie, Jesus vra nie vir Saggeus om sy besittings prys te gee nie. Maar dit was onnodig want Saggeus het spontaan onderneem om die helfte van sy besittings vir die armes te gee en sy afpersgeld vierdubbeld terug te betaal. Hy is buite verhouding mededeelsaam en herstel die onreg wat hy gepleeg het.  (So terloops, miskien is superbelasting ‘n goeie konsep as dit eerbaar en verantwoordelik bestuur en aangewend word).  Daarna gee Jesus aan hom wat hy kort gekom het, bevryding en verlossing, ‘n nuwe en ewige lewe – ‘n lewe wat saak maak.  Die skrifdeel nooi mens uit om Jesus in die huis van jou lewe – in jou hart in te nooi.     

Dit is inderdaad vir God moontlik om ‘n kameel deur ‘n naald se oog te kry, en iemand van sy/haar besittings te skei en dat hy of sy mededeelsaam raak. Ryk gelowiges maak erns met die nood van armes. Hulle gee met entoesiasme en is blymoedige gewers. Hulle raak by die bemagtiging van
verontregtes betrokke en is konkreet met dade van sosiale geregtigheid. Christian action takes more than welfare. True compassion includes justice (Hendriks 1974:26). “Armoedeverligting kan nie meer gesien word – soos lank in kerklike kringe gedoen is – as welsynswerk (welfare of charity) nie. Dit kan nie langer net gesien word as die uitdeel van aalmoese om die lot van sekeres effens te verlig nie. Die huidige tydgewrig roep om die permanente verandering van die lewenstog van diegene wat te weinig het om ‘n sinvolle, menswaardige lewe te lei” sê Prof. Elwil Beukes, ontwikkelingsekonoom, tydens ‘n Badisa konferensie in 2004.   
  
Saggeus het gekry wat hy gesoek het, omdat Jesus eintlik eerste vir Saggeus gaan opsoek het. Jesus is steeds vandag op die uitkyk vir diegene wat hom soek, Jesus kyk verby ‘n mens se verlede en geldelike status. Hy kyk na ons harte en wil ons gebruik om in liefde en geregtigheid uit te reik na ander. Kyk… Hy is die een wat immers na diegene vind wat op soek is.

Good news for rich and poor

God’s (biblical) story is for everyone, for the poor and the rich.  But “there are two ways in which human response to the story creates a bias that favors the poor (Walking with the poor deur Myers 2005:55):

• “First, it is apparently very hard for the non-poor to accept the biblical story as their story (Luke 18:18-30). Wealth and power seem to make people hard of hearing and poor at understanding (Luke 8:14)”. (If wealthy Christians are poor at understanding, I think we can refer to them as “spiritually poor”.)

• “Second, it is the poor who most consistently seem to recognize God’s story as their story… God has always insisted that caring for the widow, orphan, and alien is a measure of the fidelity with which we live out our faith. No story, in which the poor are forgotten, ignored, or left to their own devices is consistent with the biblical story. If the poor are forgotten, God will be forgotten too. Loving God and loving neighbor are twin injunctions of a single command” (Myers 2005:55).

I do not agree with the general statement of God taking the side of the poor and oppressed blindly and that God is against the rich and the wealthy. I also disagree, as indicated before, that only the oppressed are just. Wealthy people can also convert and do justice to others. The Confession of Belhar reflects the biblical witnesses of God correctly by stating God’s special concern for the needy and the poor. God calls his church to follow “Him” by standing with “Him” against any unjust systems.

Dualistic worldview

Myers (2005) describes worldview as the way we understand and interpret the world in which we live. There is a big danger in practicing Christian faith with a dualistic worldview, i.e. the separation of the spiritual and physical realms. If this dominates Christian thought and church practice, it undermines the principles of any theology of transformation, social action and empowerment.

The modern separation of the physical and spiritual realms explains a wide range of the modern dichotomies that are prevalent in the modern worldview. For example, the spiritual world is the arena of sacred revelation, in which we know by believing. The real world where we hear, see, feel, and touch is where scientific observation allows us to know things with certainty. Faith and religion are part of the spiritual world, while reason and science provide the explanations in the real world. The spiritual world is an interior, private place; the real world is an exterior, public place. This means that values are a private matter of personal choice, having no relevance in the public square where politics and economics reign (Myers 2005:6).

In accepting the dichotomy, believers limit the scope of both sin and the gospel. “By limiting the domain of sin to a person’s soul, we inadvertently limit the scope of the gospel as well. We need to transform this way of thinking. God’s rule extends to both the spiritual and material; the redemptive work of Jesus Christ is needed wherever sin has penetrated” (Myers 2005:10).

Myers (2005:123) reckons “If the most fundamental cause of poverty is the impact of sin, then dealing with sin must be part of the Christian process of change”. He continues: “While we must deal with the individual nature of sin, we must also address its consequences as expressed in relationships that are based on a web of lies and that promote disempowerment of the poor and domination by the non-poor. This means that a Christian process of change must center on truth telling and the promotion of justice and righteousness”.

The central message of the Bible is justice-love; it is God’s unconditional love of the world. Loving God and loving your neighbour defines Christian life – Christianity is totally integrated with everyday life. Respect and love for God cannot be separated from respect and love towards human beings, e.g. Ex. 20; Lev. 19; Deut. 5; Micah 6:6-8; Rom. 13:8-10. The quality of loving God is measured by the love believers have for other people. If anyone says, “I love God,” yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen (1 John 4:20), says it all.

If we prefer to stay in our comfort zones of apathy and material riches, then we should ask ourselves whether we have got the right to call ourselves Christians.  We should heed the words of Christ in Matt 25:41: “Depart from me, ye cursed into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.”  And also verses 45 – 46:  “…. Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.  And these shall go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into life eternal” (ACROS statement in 2002).

It is also true that the poor and oppressed may oppress other poor. “If you see the poor oppressed in a district, and justice and rights denied, do not be surprised at such things; for one official is eyed by a higher one, and over them both are others higher still” (Eccl 5:8). Poor people may oppress other people who are also poor e.g. poor stealing from other poor. “The truth must be discovered about the way the poor contribute to their own poverty, and the truth must be discovered about how poverty is created by the god-complexes of the non-poor, inadequacies of worldview, and deception by the principalities and powers. Only in repenting in the face of God’s truth can relationships be restored so that life, justice, and peace (shalom) can be restored” (Myers 2005:123). Any theology of empowerment, development or social change should take this principle in consideration.  
 (Aanhaling uit my referaat oor die Teologie van Bemagtiging)

The Church and Poverty, Ethnic Conflict and Climate Change
Participants from 198 nations grapple with the Role of the Church as it Relates to Poverty, Ethnic Conflict and Climate Change at The Third Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization.
The second full day of the Congress focused on the role of the church in the ministry of reconciliation—reconciliation of women and men with God’s creation, reconciliation between people of different economic status, and reconciliation between people of different ethnic and racial backgrounds. Ruth Padilla DeBorst, the General Secretary of the Latin American Theological Fellowship, began the day by leading participants through a study of Ephesians chapter two.  She provided thoughtful insights about the nature of God’s transformative power in changing people and societies.
“Jesus made peace by doing justice, by restoring to rightful place and right relations those who were being deprived of them by unjust systems, human greed and abuse of power,” Ruth Padilla Deborst said. “God lives wherever men and women together allow the Community-of-love to imprint God’s image on them, to speak reconciliation into being in their midst, to tear down all humanly constructed walls and spiritually bolstered exclusions so that unity becomes visible, to remind them that once we were all together in death and that our lives, our value and our purpose depend entirely on God’s unmerited grace. God yearns to build the world church today into his earthly dwelling place.”

Reconciliation with Creation
In an afternoon session a panel of environmental leaders from five continents focused on the role of the Church in the global environmental crisis. Panelists challenged participants to consider their doctrine of creation, to remember God’s mandate to care for the earth, and to think about how changes in the environment are negatively impacting the poor.
“Christians have been attacked for a wrong interpretation of the biblical doctrine of creation,” said Ken Gnankan. “We have mandate from God for us to be keepers, tenders, stewards of God’s creation. So, I think there is no opting out of it.” 
Sir John Houghton, co-chair of the intergovernmental panel on climate change (IPCC), showed how rising sea levels could displace significant populations of the world’s poor in places like Bangledesh where more than one million people live in an area projected to be consumed by the sea.
“[Environmental change] is a Christian issue because it’s affecting the world, the ecosystem, God’s creation—and because it affects the poor more than anything,” Houghton said.

Reconciliation with the Poor
Ajith Fernando, who since 1976 has served as the National Director of Youth for Christ in Sri Lanka, encouraged Christians to think about how fully reconciling with the poor requires changes in lifestyle, organizational structures and work philosophies.
“One of the things we found as soon as the poor started coming to Christ was that we encountered strong anger within them because they suddenly realized that they were equal in Christ but they had not been treated as equal all these years,” said Ajith Fernando. “That began a process of about 30 years of adjusting our organizational structure and our philosophy of working so that the poor can emerge as leaders in our movement.”

Reconciliation with Difference between Peoples
Antoine Rutayisire, Dean of the Anglican Cathedral of Kigali, Rwanda and commissioner of the National Unity and Reconciliation Commission, said that working with the poor was essential for bringing restoration to a nation and its people.  He said that people who are poor live in the midst of injustice and for that reason can be susceptible to promptings to violence.
“I come from a broken nation, but a nation that is healing, and I grew up wounded,” said Rutayisire. “I grew up angry. I grew up full of hatred and bitterness, but the cross of Jesus Christ has made a difference in my life. Because we are a holy nation of God, we are not Hutu or Tutsis or . . . white or black or yellow or green or whatever we may call it; we are a holy nation to God and Christ Jesus.”
Sharing the podium together, a Palestinian Christian and an Israeli Messianic Jew talked about the power of reconciliation in their lives. Shadia Qubti, the Palestinian, serves with Musalaha, an interdenominational initiative seeking to expand reconciliation between Jewish and Palestinian believers in Christ.

“As a Palestinian, it’s very difficult to reach out to my enemy,” said Qubti. “But as a Christian Palestinian, I have the ability to do that. Because Jesus gives me the eyes to see them as he sees me, Jesus gives me the confidence to go against my society; he gives me the power to embrace them.”
Daniel Sered, the Director of Jews for Jesus in Israel, described how difficult it would be for his family to see him standing next a Palestinian. Yet he emphasized the power of reconciliation in the ethnic conflict between Jews and Palestinian Arabs.

“When Israeli Jews and Palestinian Arabs can say to one another, ‘I love you in Jesus’ name,’ the world will see the powerful reconciliation work of the good news,” said Sered. “The only hope for peace for the Middle East is truly Jesus.” (http://www.lausanne.org/news-releases/the-church-and-poverty-ethnic-conflict-and-climate-change.html)

Pieter van Niekerk

Seisoen van Luister PowerPoint

Preekriglyn in argief

 

 

 

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