“Give us aid against the enemy, for the help of man is worthless.”
So the other day I was in Philadelphia and I saw this bike near 16th and Latimer. It’s probably still there if anyone wants it. The bike has no tires, no pedals, no gears, no handlebars, and no seat. It does have a bike lock which is still holding what’s left of the bike to a street sign.
This gets me thinking about how we can have lots of things in life to help keep us safe, but they only provide the illusion of security. Money, possessions, insurance, relationships – all these things can give the impression that they are keeping us safe, but they don’t really have any power to protect us from many of the surprises and attacks that can come along.
It makes me think of the story Jesus told of the man who built big barns and filled them up with his excess food – planning to sit back and live the good life. Then his life was over, and what good did all that excess in those big barns ever do for him? Jesus said that is how it will be for anyone who stores up things for himself and is not rich toward God. It will be a big let down – a disaster.
That man was an example of the wrong way, the way of the useless bike lock. But right after that Jesus talks about the right way. He tells what it means to be rich toward God.
Then Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?
“Consider how the lilies grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, 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, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith! And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.
“Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
Many well meaning people tell us to save up our excess to provide for our needs. Don’t they? I have to admit that the way of the world can look like the right way sometimes. Jesus recommends a different way.
So anyone out there need a bike lock? I know of one available for free for anyone who wants it. Just go down to 16th and Latimer with a hacksaw, and it’s all yours.