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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Mixed Blessings

Often there is the assumption that more is better.  A surplus of all resources of whatever type is greatly to be desired.  Paradoxically, surpluses can require more willful discipline and sacrifice.  The example obvious to most of us is food.  We are blessed with great surpluses of food.  Yet this abundance results in a population that has chronic issues with being overweight and the health problems that ensue.  The discipline once exacted by food scarcity must now be maintained by intentional measures of abstinence.  What applies to food applies to many other areas.  A surplus of free time challenges us to put that time to productive use; else we find that “idle hands are the devil's workshop.”  So what is our greatest blessing can become our greatest curse.  Here it becomes obvious that ethical direction is a necessary condition for societal health.  The character of the information age explosion and the opportunities made available through abundant media resources will surely be an indicator of the spiritual health of a society.  Yet, censorship of the press we have long learned is an artificial and useless endeavor—it is a brown leaf tossed about on the surface of a rushing stream.  Censorship would ensconce by law staid respectability upon the spiritual dynamics driving a living society.  One of the greatest gifts of physical surpluses is that it provides time for spiritual reflection.  The Sermon on the Mount would not be possible had Jesus had to spend all his time hunting or gathering food.  We need to be thankful for direct and derived blessings and accept the challenges they represent.

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