“A bowl of Lintels and Bread”
Treasure Island is a classic story full of both wit and tragedy. Covetousness drives the seekers of the hidden treasure to a point of death. The glitter and the lure of gold and all things precious coerced die hard pirates to extremities. Greed does not allow for sharing and neither does it seek to serve others, it instead seeks to consolidate everything for self.
Jim Hawkins the indomitable representation of the human conscience of truth seemed to have been at times taken hostage by the forces of death and greed. Being just a boy and inexperienced put him at a disadvantage. The one legged, patched eye pirate was an overwhelming tower and shadow of greed and death that constantly seemed to follow Hawkins. Just as it should be in all good and uplifting stories, the evil finally is defeated and truth is vindicated, albeit the tragedy of Ben Gun, the pirate who became a beggar in less than a week after drowning and wallowing in unimaginable wealth.
This brings us to the issue at hand, our value system, our priorities in all the facets of life. Rob Parsons book, The Heart of Success is a treatise on dreams, hopes and love. In it he gives the one most important and identity defining essence. A Wholistic approach to life, soul and body. This he does with these words, “. . . In the midst of all progress, power and posturing of humankind, there is one statistic that ought at least to slow us down, cause us to pause, and make us ponder: death rate to date is 100%. And not only is that the case but life is short.”
Values system is only possible when a consciousness of a higher being is incorporated into our psyche. For without it, ethics, morality and the question of right and wrong does not arise. Unfortunately, as our ancestors Adam and Eve sought to choose between the Slithery One and the Ancient of Days, their choice determined their destiny. Emptiness became a part of the lives they sooner than later realized their nakedness. They began to shift blame to one another and even to their creator. In essence, they refused to become responsible to both themselves and to a Higher Being – the very basis for value systems.
“Look, I am about to die,” Esau said. “What good is the birthright to me?” But Jacob said, “Swear to me first.” So he swore an oath to him, selling his birthright to Jacob. The Jacob gave Esau some bread and some lentil stew. He ate and drank, and then got up and left. So Esau despised his birthright.” (Genesis 25:32-34).
Here is a story about a bowl of lentils and bread that determined the future of a people and a nation. True to all humanity, Esau failed the temptation, “Change these stones into bread.” For him, here and now was more important than eternity, he practically forgot who he was and what his destiny would be. Paul in his epistle to the Philippians captures this incident with these pictorial words, “Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame.” (Phil. 3:19)
By stomach, Paul is not just limiting himself to the physical portion of it, but also to all Providential instinctual primitive drives that take precedence over our God given conscience and consciousness. For this is what is presented in the first portion of the Divine given “Ten Words.” ‘You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or one the earth beneath or in the waters below.’ (Exodus 20: 3 and 4)
Adam and Eve chose the fruit of the knowledge of truth and evil over the Creator. Cain chose to slay his brother in order to remove a truthful projector of higher values. Noah’s generation sought to indulge in all sorts of figment of filthy imaginations over noble and beautiful thoughts. Sodom and Gomorrah were perverted by their inordinate sexual drive and only fire by sulphur and brimstone could cleanse their unnatural acts.
Samson lured by beauty and alluring myrrh and incense mixed with other captivating scents of a foreign woman chose to become a flour grinder slave with gouged out eyes. The corresponding value of his life was the caressing touch of the petal soft hands of a Philistine girl. Samson seemed to have not listened to the wise sayings, that cautioned him saying, “My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, then you will understand what is right and just and fair – every good path. Wisdom will save you from the adulteress, with her seductive words, for her house leads down to death and her paths to the spirits of the dead. None who go to her return or attain the paths of life” (Proverbs 2:1-19)
Judas Iscariot chose the tingling sounds of the silver coins, he adored the shinning lure of the metallic substance. No wonder he sold his saviour, for a mere thirty pieces of silver. Whose equivalent was a burial plot for drifters and those rejected by the society as it were. Unfortunately, for him, he was averse to the Living Scripts he never was keen to hear this being read by his priest, “Whoever loves money never has enough money; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income. This too is meaningless.” (Ecclesiastes 5:10) No wonder when the tingling sound of the silver had subsided and the lure of the metallic substance was part of his life, he discovered the emptiness of the crave and the lure of the thirty pieces was not only meaningless but was death.
Rob Parsons reinterprets the observation of the writer of Ecclesiastes vide his seven laws in his treatise on The Heart of Success when he states, “The good news is that no matter how old we are, so long as there is still breath in our body, we can begin the process of change.” You don’t have to waste away in the sea of self-pity and hopelessness, one can give himself a value system that does not fritter away by appropriating what the Prophet Micah gives as the oracle of God. “He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does He require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:8) The last statement of the aforementioned verse is the genus upon which success is based. ‘To walk justly’ is about what the Nazarene captured with his words when he said, ‘do unto others as you would have them do to you.’ ‘To love mercy’ is to tinker your lifestyle with the milk of humanity, neighbourliness or be in touch with life in all its facets – wipe tears from that lonely child in the neighbourhood, help that senior citizen write a letter to his only daughter or just may be give a hand to that broken hearted man. Moreover, ‘to walk humbly with your God’ is essentially to become agreeable with him and under his guidance, for this is where your value system is determined.