By Saw Solomon Opehtoo
In Luke 12, Jesus gives us a valuable “Parable about the Rich Fool” that teaches us the danger of attachment to worldly wealth. Jesus invites us to search for the right thing, which is heavenly wealth that cannot be destroyed. Jesus was exposing the multitude to vital truths pertaining to the kingdom of God and teaching about the danger of rejecting the gospel and the promptings of the Holy Spirit. In verse 31, Jesus concludes his teaching about the search for the Kingdom of God by reminding us that God will surely fulfill whatever we need in this world.
Based on this parable, I would like to talk about sharing our love to people in need. In sharing our love to others, I believe that we can overcome our natural desire to be attached to worldly material and we can accept the invitation of Jesus to live for others. In sharing our love, we can overcome our selfishness, so that our lives will bear witness to the reality of the Kingdom of God. Jesus teaches us in the Gospel of Matthew 22:37-39 to love your God and your neighbors. This requirement is not only for the fulfillment of the laws. It also focuses us on what it means to be children of God, who have a responsibility to connect with our God and our neighbors.
Abandoning our worldly attachment to material wealth and sharing our love to other is not an easy process. To fulfill Jesus’ commandment to “Love your Enemies” is a great challenge for all of us.
As a young man who grew up in Burma, one of the poorest countries in the world, the Christian message about the Gospel is an extremely challenging message for me. As a member of an extremely poor family, lack of money was the main obstacle to getting a good education. As a member of the Christian minority, it is very difficult for me to have confidence in myself living in society, so that I have only a few friends outside Christianity. As a member of an ethnic minority, which is being oppressed by the majority community, my ethnic people’s experience of bitterness and hatred influences my thought and my personal concept of life. As a member of a conservative Baptist tradition, I have been taught to separate from the outside world, especially from the Buddhist community.
But I now understand that God wants me to serve his mission of love and reconciliation among different people from different traditions. I know that God wants me to share my love with my neighbors, including members of the majority who are still oppressing our people. I know that God wants me to see a full vision of peaceful community, like the Davidic kingdom envisioned in Psalm 89. I know that God wants to use me for an ecumenical ministry among the different Christian denominations, especially for the cooperation between Anglican churches and Baptist churches.
When I consider the will of God for me, I always doubt that it is possible for me to fulfill. It is impossible to give full leadership to the entire community because of my limited talent. It is impossible to provide sufficient food to the hungry in my surroundings because of the poor situation of my family. It is impossible to stand as an activist for ecumenical ministry for all different denominations because of my limited traditional heritage. It is impossible to give my love and my meaningful service to the military dictatorship-based Burmese majority because of my being as an oppressed ethnicity.
Some Karen arrived in Chicago to start a new journey of life. Because of the hospitality and love of the North Shore Baptist Church, they could begin their new spiritual journey here. As NSBC showed its loves to us, we the Karen must understand that we have responsibility to show our love to other people. In this spirit, we are ready to serve for our church, our community, our friends and our neighbors both for Burma and in the United States. Some would say that serving our community is an impossible thing since they are very busy with jobs, studies, and other matters of living in Chicago. However, we must understand that sharing our love and serving our community is possible if we take strength in the power of God.
Romans 4:19-25 teaches that “there is no impossible in God and in faith.” Although Abraham’s condition made it impossible in nature to beget generations of children, by faithful faith in God, he saw no impossibility in God’s promise to him. I know that all things in my future are impossible in nature, but by faith, by grace and by the power of God, all impossibilities will be demolished for my future ministry.