Give and GrowJune 16, 2016
Andrew and Secundus’ Conversation Continued: Eternal Significance?June 30, 2016
My little brother Andrew was telling us about a conversation he had with one of our more successful young converts. Secundus was Greek and was a successful trader in Roman and Greek ornaments. He was closer to Andrew’s age, so he must have felt more comfortable talking to him. He started by saying, “Okay, Andrew, I’m feeling pretty good about my life. I’m starting to make some real money, so I’m thinking about things I can buy, you know, as sort of a reward for my hard work.
“I’m also looking around at what some of my friends have, and it makes me feel a little, how to say it, “competitive?” But just the other day one of my new Brothers here in Jerusalem, Amos, challenged me about being envious. He even used one of your outdated Hebrew words: “coveting.”
Secundus continued, hardly catching a breath, “He even said I should think about giving money to the Lord instead of spending it all on myself. Hmp. Might I add, Andrew, Amos is a tad too legalistic for my taste?
“I’m doing alright and I’ve got some money to spend. As you know, it’s important to look successful in my trade. Maybe I’ll stretch a bit and upgrade my house and my horse, and even buy some new clothes. Even if I stretch myself a bit, I’m not worried; my income can always catch up.”
But at this point he stopped and hesitated, looking down at the ground. Andrew could sense something was bothering Secundus, so he motioned to him to go on. (Andrew is a good listener. I guess he has to be with me as his bombastic big brother.)
Secundus spread his hands out palms up and said, “But I was at the morning gathering at Solomon’s Porch recently, and I couldn’t help but overhear two men talking. It turns out one was 70 and the other 50. They seemed engrossed in an impassioned discussion about what is really important in life.”
He went on, shaking his head, “And as their conversation turned to their previous way of handling their time and their money, I could see they were disappointed with themselves. I decided to listen in for a minute. They seemed to be lamenting that they had wasted a lot of time and spent a lot of money on things that had no eternal significance.”
At this Andrew broke his silence and asked Secundus, “What do you think they meant by eternal significance?”
Now Secundus became animated and exclaimed, “Eternal significance? Who thinks about that? Okay, maybe when you’re 70, but at my age? Don’t be ridiculous. I’m focused on how to make a living, and how to spend my time and money for the most immediate impact. Eternal significance? I’ve got to be thinking about now, not after I die.”
Andrew was thinking to himself, “Well my friend, according to Jesus, after you die you’ll be thinking a lot more about now, and how you lived your life here.”
Next Week: Andrew Responds