Sunday, October 29, 2006

The Pot of Gold At the End of the Rainbow

Daniel asked me to blow his bath water because it was hot. It was cute.

Caleb told me the other day that "There isn't Really a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. It's just a story."

That got me thinking. Rainbows are a gift from Heavenly Father. They are both a sign of His promises to us, and a blessing in and of themselves. It is a shame that we have attached a pot of gold, the ultimate in worldly rewards for many people, to the end of that. It's like we're saying that the end result of God's promise is monetary reward.

Unfortunately, I see that kind of thinking in the church (myself included) all the time. We think that, one way or another, the blessings from obeying this or that commandment should come in a worldly form. Conversely, I often get the impression that people think that if you are poor, you must be sinning somehow, because God blesses the righteous with money. A prime example, of course, is with Tithing. We all quote the "windows of heaven" scripture, saying that God will pour out blessings on us if we pay our tithing "that we'll not have room to receive." So we expect that if we continue to pay our tithing, we'll never go bankrupt or be without food, or whatever.

Of course, we all know that's not true. In fact, we are still poor, despite paying our tithing, but we have blessings that there is not room to receive them. For example, both Tim and I right now are completely overloaded with GOOD creative ideas--him for songs, me for novels--that we don't have time in the year to develop and pursue each one. Even in worldly things we've been blessed. When we pray for some object we think we need, more often than not, we're blessed with many of them. Like when Tim's bike got stolen, we prayed for a new bike and within a month he had four bikes, all good, that cost a total of $25--most of them were free. And just this last week, I prayed that we'd be able to get a color laser printer so Tim could produce the press materials he needs without the extreme cost. We didn't get a sudden extra $500 to buy a new one. Instead, unexpectedly on craigslist, someone posted a Color Laserjet 5 that worked for FREE--just come pick it up. When I got there 24 hours later (usually too late for to catch the deal) not only was it still there, but a newer Color Laserjet 4550 that is compatible with Tim's computer was also there, also free. We prayed for what we needed, and we got two--free.

And a laser printer is a "stuff" kind of thing, even. But it's not a pot of gold. Instead, it's the object we needed, which we might have spent the money on. Or we might not have. It's like giving a homeless drunk man a sandwich instead of $10 that he might or might not spend on the food he actually needs.

It's just a shame that we equate keeping covenants with getting worldly reward (fame, wealth, etc), especially when those things often aren't in our best eternal interest. Satan is clever. If we can become convinced that money is the reward for righteousness, then when we don't get the expected reward, we may be vulnerable enough to blame God for not keeping his promises instead of blaming ourselves for trying to control Heavenly Father by mandating the result of obedience. It's like all those stories we hear about people who were in car accidents or house fires but were wearing their garments and so were unhurt. That's wonderful that they were blessed that way--but hundreds of people are keeping the commandments and get hurt, or bankrupt, or "fail" in their eyes. Or are thrown into a flaming pit with all the scriptures in the city--or worse, have to watch their wives and children being thrown into the pit and not being allowed to stop it. And that doesn't mean that Heavenly Father failed to keep his promises.

Instead of spending our time predetermining the rewards we "will get" for our obedience, it seems like it would be smarter to enjoy the rainbow, trust the promises that it is supposed to remind us of, and stop searching for the pot of gold that probably would poison our souls anyway.

No comments: