October 21, 2004

If We Could Build These Walls a Little Higher…

Filed under: Philosophy,Religion — Adam Heine @ 10:55 PM

UPDATE (10/22, 1 pm): If you think this idea is interesting, Ray takes it even farther.

A Bible study on Matthew 6 turned into a philosophical discussion on life, security, and the pursuit of happiness. I wanted to get some of it out here before it slipped from my mind. If this ends up more like stream of consciousness than a refined essay, I apologize.

One thing about me is that I have a lot of theories. Contrary to popular opinion, I do not make these theories up out of thin air – each one of my theories is based on some evidence. Today’s theory is that civilization is largely (if not primarily) driven by a desire for a security that cannot be achieved.

I’ve been considering for some time now that what people really want, when it comes right down to it, is security. I started thinking about this when I tried to figure out why the desire for money is so strong. Basically all of the reasons I could think of for wanting money came down to a desire for safety and control over one’s life.

Someone tonight (I think it was Ray) mentioned that it’s always been this way. People gathered together, settled in cities, built walls, assigned guards, and so on for safety – so that they could survive. It was a necessity, and in much of the world it still is. The pursuit of security is not inherently a Bad Thing (probably).

But the kicker is this: there is no such thing as absolute security. It doesn’t matter how much money one has – the security gained by it is not perfect and it can still fall apart. Even if I have all the money in the world and everybody is my friend and nobody is my enemy and all the guns are on my side (or nobody has any guns, depending on your political preference)… even if I have complete control over my life, I still don’t have complete control over my life!

We tend to think that if we could build the walls around us just a little higher, we wouldn’t need to worry anymore – and ultimately, we wouldn’t need God anymore. But that’s just it: the only real security can be found in God. He created us, He has a purpose for our lives, and He is the only one who has any real control.

And God doesn’t offer us the kind of security that we want. Jesus said, “If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also.” He also said, “Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”

It sounds to me more like we’re promised death than security. And that’s the really scary thing, because what we want security from, more than anything, is death. But in the kingdom of God, death really isn’t that big of a deal. Or actually, it is that big of a deal, but it’s a Good Thing, and not the terrible thing we have been told it is.

This is especially important for us to know as we leave everything we know and go to Thailand. Sean and I were talking about this the other day (we were talking about a book we just read, called Bruchko, about a kid who was captured by South American Indians and ended up saving the whole tribe), and our conclusion was that if we keep following Jesus and doing what He says, at some point someone is going to beat the crap out of us. But it doesn’t matter because God’s purpose for our lives is far better, for us and for others, than anything we could have pieced together ourselves. And we won’t find it by chasing our own security.

Anyway, we are not promised security, but we are promised provision. This is the passage that triggered the entire discussion. I love this passage:

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?

“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

“We’ll never understand the Christ they’ve felt if we keep on chasing health and wealth.”


  1. You are so right. When God created man He created him with a “God-shaped” vacuum. We cannot find security, as you say Adam, until that God-shaped vacuum is filled. And God, in His infinite love, provided Jesus Christ, the only One or thing that can fill that vacuum. Money can’t, walls can’t, government can’t, sports can’t – only Jesus Christ can. Once that God-shaped vacuum is filled with Jesus Christ we can have “the peace that passes all understanding”.

    Comment by The Heine Patriarch — October 23, 2004 @ 8:57 PM

  2. Interesting thought about building walls. I really like this piece a lot. It speaks directly into the heart of the world. How can we be really safe anymore? There are no more towns with high walls and mighty Kings with mighty armies to battle. Saftey now rests in the simple faith of knowing the one who was sent. I gotta go see how Ray has taken this Farther.


    Comment by Anonymous — October 30, 2004 @ 11:22 PM

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: