Friday, October 31, 2008

I give, that I may receive?

“We see that the elder brother ”became angry.” All of his words are dripping with resentment. The first sign you have an elder brother spirit is that when your life doesn't go as you want, you aren't just sorrowful but deeply angry and bitter. Elder brothers believe that if they live a good life they should get a good life, that God owes them a smooth road if they try to live up to standards.

"What happens, then, if you are an elder brother and things go wrong in your life? If you feel you have been living up to your moral standards, you will be furious with God. You don't deserve this, you will think, after how hard you've worked to be a decent person!...Elder brothers' inability to handle suffering arises from the fact that their moral observance is results-oriented. The good life is lived not for delight in good deeds themselves, but as calculated ways to control their environment.”—Timothy Keller, The Prodigal God, pages 50-51

<idle musing>
The Romans defined religion as do ut der—I give that I may be given to. Sounds like some prosperity teaching doesn't it? Not terribly Christian, though...A friend of ours says, “You deserve to burn in hell. Anything else is a blessing, so get over feeling sorry for yourself and be thankful.”

That I can agree with! My work, my good deeds, are garbage (Philippians 3:8 Gr. σκύβαλα, Spicq translates it “It's all crap”!!), used menstrual cloths (Isaiah 64:6), in God's eyes.

Those two verses put it into good perspective. Can you imagine bringing used Kotex™ or a pile of manure to God as an offering? Yet that is what we are doing when we trust in anything we do to make ourselves more acceptable to God.
</idle musing>

2 comments:

Joel B. said...

Quite a lot of good revelation here about who/what the "elder brother" represents. Great stuff, keep on posting!

Carl W. Conrad said...

The Latin cited (DO UT DER) would have to mean "I give in order that I may be given"; the actual Latin was (is usually cited as) DO UT DES: "I give so that you -- the deity -- may give." Of course the intent is that the giver may receive substantial benefits from the deity, but the verb DARE is transitive and must have a direct object of the gift.