“Then he said to me, “Write: Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!” And he said to me, “These are the true sayings of God!” And I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, “See that you do not do that! I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren who have the testimony of Jesus. Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” Revelation 19:9-10 NKJV
There’s an old joke that goes something like this:
A woman wakes to the sound of crying coming from the kitchen. She gets up and finds her husband slumped over the kitchen table sobbing like a child. “What’s wrong?” she asks. “Do you remember when you were 16 and your father caught us at Lovers Lane?” “Yes,” she says. “He told me I had two choices: marry you or go to jail for twenty years.” The wife folds her arms. “Go on,” she says. The husband wipes at his eyes and cries, “Today would have been twenty years!”
Vulgarity aside, there’s something to be said for taking the long view.
“I’m married to it,” or “I’m not married to it,” has become a popular description of our commitment to something. “Married to it”, for me, conjures an image of being tied together at the wrists. You’re not going anywhere without that one or that thing…perhaps for a very, very long time.
The Mafia has seduced our collective imagination for decades. No organization demands a person “marry it” like the Mob. What is it about these “families” that so captures our fancy? The wealth? The power? The complete independence from any other authority? Is it the to-the-death loyalty among its members that seems so attractive and glamorous? Is it the code of silence, the closeness of ranks?
We all know drugs, extortion, murder, slavery, and sexual torture are the fuel of organized crime, yet the lives of its “made men” and women still seem sexy. That’s kinda messed up. Or perhaps it’s just short-sighted. We aren’t the first ones to envy the people at the top of this world’s food chain. Thousands of years ago, a fellow named Asaph envied them too, writing in what we now call Psalm 73, “For I was envious of the boastful, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. For there are no pangs in their death, but their strength is firm. They are not in trouble as other men, nor are they plagued like other men. Therefore pride serves as their necklace. Violence covers them like a garment.”
Turns out the Mafia, or something like it, has been around a long, long time.
Asaph came to a realization that would serve us well, too, “When I thought how to understand this, it was too painful for me. Until I went into the sanctuary of God; then I understood their end.” He goes on to say, “As a dream when one awakens, so, Lord, when You awake, You shall despise their image…Nevertheless I am continually with You; You hold me by my right hand. You will guide me with Your counsel and afterward receive me to Your glory. Whom have I in heaven but You? And there is none upon earth that I desire besides You.”
I’ve heard it said the devil peddles bankrupt stock. He is running the con game of the ages. In the end, he will supply nothing except sorrow, regret, and anguish.
Not so the one with whom we have to do. (Hebrews 4:13) He came to provide life in abundance. (John 10:10) His cord on our wrists is as light as a feather and never chafes. (Matthew 11:30)
At this wonderful Christmas season of 2014, let’s take a moment to ponder wisdom. Let’s take a moment to consider the Child in the manger is a soon-coming King. Very, very soon.
And let us, like Asaph, be thankful.
Said the night wind to the little lamb,
“Do you see what I see?
Way up in the sky, little lamb,
Do you see what I see?
A star, a star, dancing in the night
With a tail as big as a kite,
With a tail as big as a kite.”
Said the little lamb to the shepherd boy,
“Do you hear what I hear?
Ringing through the sky, shepherd boy,
Do you hear what I hear?
A song, a song, high above the trees
With a voice as big as the seas,
With a voice as big as the seas.”
Said the shepherd boy to the mighty king,
“Do you know what I know?
In your palace walls, mighty king,
Do you know what I know?
A Child, a Child, shivers in the cold-
Let us bring Him silver and gold,
Let us bring Him silver and gold.”
Said the king to the people everywhere,
“Listen to what I say!
Pray for peace, people everywhere,
Listen to what I say!
The Child, the Child, sleeping in the night,
He will bring us goodness and light,
He will bring us goodness and light.”
Psst…pass it on: Wisemen still seek Him.
© Melissa Kay Simonds