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In part three of “The Mantle” series we are going to look at the family. What are the words or expression of the family to one another and to other people? We are going to look at the core, connections, character, contribution, and communication of the family.
Jesus says watch over your heart with all diligence for it is the wellspring of life. Good things come out of the good man because of the good that is stored up in him. Evil things come out of the evil man because of the evil stored up in him.
The solution to that conundrum and helping your own family is to love God and love people. We learned about that in catechism, in first grade and at Sunday school: love God and love people.
Parable of the Rich Fool
Jesus splendidly illustrated this spiritual truth in the parable of the rich fool, which is found in Luke 12: 15-21. Jesus talks about this rich man who is going through life sort of casually, unconcerned about what’s really important in life, and only thinking only about himself. He’s really committed himself to the purpose of self-preservation. You know, of taking care of number one, amassing stuff, making life predictable, presuming that he has tomorrow.
In Luke, Jesus says: “Beware! Guard against every kinds of greed. Life is not measured by how much you own.”
Then Jesus told them this parable.
The second way that God teaches us, or instructs us to number our days, is that he trains us through trauma. In other words, God teaches us through traumatic events in our lives.
The Psalmist in the Bible talks about this in Psalm 119, verses: 71 and 72. It says: “My suffering was good for me, for it taught me to pay attention to Your decrees.” Verse 72 reads: “The Law from Your mouth is more precious to me than thousands of pieces of silver and gold.”
Pain jolts us into turning to God and to turning to His word. The grass withers and the flower fades, but the Word of God goes on forever. In this scripture, David needed to seek God’s will through His words, through His laws, and through His decrees. David needed to see God’s priorities, God’s values, God’s commands, God’s perspectives... But it took trauma, and trauma was good. The trauma clarified. I think a lot of us can identify.
Have you ever heard the expression: “He carried the mantle of leadership well.” I’ve always wondered, “What is a mantle?”
Maybe it’s a male candle? Is it a masculine baton you receive, carry, and then hand off? Who gives this to a man? My wife says it’s that shelf over the fireplace.
A mantle, I discovered, is nothing more than something that covers or surrounds something else. The fuzz covering the horns of a male deer, for example, is called the deer’s “mantle” because it completely encapsulates the actual horn until it wears off.
All of us have heard this expression: “You only live once!”
Usually, we use this phrase to convince ourselves to do something that is a little out of the box, or to seize the moment, or to take advantage of an experience that we might not otherwise have if we don’t do it now. There’s this sort of compressed urgency that we only have one life to live, and it’s not a soap opera. When you have that inkling and you take advantage of it, usually there is a reward on the other end and you’re glad that you did it.