‘Unless the seed dies, it remains alone.’ (JN 12: 24)
My son Sam’s death took time. His surrender to Jesus was syncopated at best: the sorrows and pleasures of sin alternately roused and deadened him. Though counterfeits made him sick, he managed to stave off the Divine Physician. Ultimately, his defenses crumbled and he pled for mercy. God took His advantage.
Rising into new life took time and effort. It was especially tough for Sam to get a grip on his finances. Like his old man, we don’t ‘think’ financially. Combine that with prodigal living, unpaid bills forgotten in a chemical haze, and general neglect of the big green, Sam faced a slow ascent to becoming financially responsible.
One big motivator was a beautiful girl he pursued who proved to be the real deal. But pairing up demands you give an answer as to how you handle money, beginning with an engagement ring. In God’s economy, one must be able to save a couple thousand in order to seal the deal. That was big for Sam, and he worked hard and saved so he could pop the question with a decent stone.
Having ordered a modest ring, Sam then asked her father if he could proceed. The man blessed Sam as his son-in-law-to-be. He then told Sam that he and his wife had found a one-carat wedding ring in a park and in spite of much effort found no owner. He offered the ring to Sam.
It was the ring that rich boys give privileged girls who expect big stones. Its cost would have at least doubled, maybe tripled my son’s outlay. Sam did not have the earning power. God did. He bestowed that ring on Sam as surely as the father welcomed his prodigal son with a classy ring (LK 15: 22-24). Only the ring was not about Sam’s future alone; it was about his pledge to another, to fruitfulness. Sam’s surrender unto sanctification broke the husk of his aloneness. God blessed him with a partner and shiny pledge that only He could provide.
Jesus calls all of us onto the narrow way of surrender. Along the way, He tosses in diamonds we don’t deserve but that He delights to give. I love that. Sam is following his old man’s footsteps. We don’t think much about money, for better or for worse. We are Kingdom-minded. Like St. Paul, we have nothing yet we possess everything. (2 Cor. 6: 10)