Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Handout (04/14/11)
- TITLE: Easter Handouts
By Kristi Ketz
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I believe that there are good people, true followers of Jesus, that have thoughts about societal “handouts” that are not mean-spirited. Many of these thoughts are likely passed down through families but also are a result of their own individual experiences rather than based on Biblical truth. Thoughts such as "I grew up in a broken home and have managed to support my family well-all it takes is hard work." Or "it's not fair that I work 80 hours a week to support those who could just as easily go get a job." This line of thinking revolves around personal responsibility, individualism, and fairness. Interestingly, those who receive handouts are not immune to disparaging thoughts about handouts. For example, "I am a proud person...I will not apply for help paying my electric bill." Or "I am a drain on society since I have been injured and am on disability."
Why are people, particularly Christian people, in this culture so turned off by those who receive help when nothing is expected in return? Is it arrogance? Pride? The ideals of justice, fairness, and hard work? Is it fear that "I" could become one of "them" so making a distinction makes me feel better about myself?
The irony is that Christians are the receivers of the biggest and best handout known to all generations. Eternal life. Not only do we receive eternal life but we also receive the option of peace in all circumstances in this broken life and broken world. There is nothing we can do to earn our salvation other than to put our own hands out and accept and receive God's gift of His son dying on the cross. This handout transcends all socioeconomic classes and even the most "fortunate" in the eyes of our society are as needy as those appearing less "fortunate." We must all humble ourselves before our God to receive this handout-hard work and individualism will not protect us from the necessity of this handout.
Eternal life is the cardinal handout in Christianity but the ability to have peace in this fallen world is an another handout that is more illusive. This handout is one that requires we do something. We must empty our hands of our wants, wills, agendas, expectations, and plans so that we can wholeheartedly follow Jesus. We must empty ourselves of these things so that the Holy Spirit can invade our lives and it is only His voice we hear. What this looks like from person to person will differ and may look strange to the world.
During Holy Week, it has been difficult to miss the relationship of the word "handout" when viewed from a Christian perspective and the image of Jesus on the cross with his hands out. By Jesus putting his hands out we are all eligible for the ultimate handout of eternal life. But just as important is that we are eligible to carry with us in this life God's peace in all situations just as Jesus did when he walked this earth in flesh and blood.
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