Summary: Second of the Eight Milestones on the Journey of the Fruitful Followers.
4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.”
I know that I have told you this story not long ago, but since it happens to fit well with this morning’s topic of mourning, I am going to tell you again. For some of you, it might be the first time hearing this. I used to live in San Francisco, in Richmond district and there were quite a lot of yuppies in that neighborhood. So there were stories about the yuppies being told. One of the stories goes like this.
A yuppie came out of a restaurant and as he was getting into his brand new BMW, a car suddenly came along and hit the open door, ripping it off completely. When the police arrived at the scene, the yuppie was complaining bitterly about the damage to his precious BMW.
"Officer, look what they’ve done to my Beeeeemer!" he mourned.
"You yuppies are so materialistic, I can’t believe it!" retorted the officer. "You’re so worried about your stupid BMW, that you didn’t even notice that your left arm was ripped off!"
"Oh my gaaawd...," replied the yuppie, finally noticing the bloody left shoulder where his arm was once attached, "My Rolex, MY ROLEX!"
He was mourning for the lost of the things that he thinks more important than his arm.
Mourning is the second stage of transformation. Last week we talked about the first stage, being poor in spirit. When we are in touch with the truth that God created us to live a fruitful life—to seek the kingdom of heaven, we feel “poor in spirit” because you want to be where God created you to be and you feel powerless to be there. This realization leads us to make a decision to strive first the kingdom of God and his righteousness.
Once you make this decision, you enter the second stage of transformation—mourning. There are two types of spiritual mourning that I would like to point out. The first one is mourning for the personal concerns and the next one is social concerns.
Mourning for Personal Concerns
Once you decide to seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, you have to give up some things in your life because your values have begun to change. It is painful to lose the things that you value previously, like the yuppie’s accident story illustrates. And you will mourn for the lost of them. Based on your new values you have lose these things:
1 – You have to let go of your priority
Since Jesus is telling you to make the kingdom of God your first priority, your current priority has to go. Years ago I came across a Jerry Springer’s show. You know, I don’t watch him, but sometimes I just stumbled upon it and some of the shows were just outrageous, which was not supposed to be a surprise because it was indented to be outrageous. In this particular show, he interviewed a couple, of which the wife complained about her husband spending too much time on computer and ignore her. Jerry Springer asked the woman what her wish was. She said she hoped he would get rid of the computer. The man turned around right away and said, “No, she goes first.” This is an extreme case, but it tells us that for many people their priorities have been totally messed up.
Jesus said your priority must be striving for the kingdom of God and his righteousness. When he tells you to put first thing first, you will end up mourning for the former first things that you have to let go. Psychologically, it might be called withdrawal.
2 – You mourn, because you had to let go of some destructive friends.
There is an English proverb that says, “Bad company corrupts good character.” When your values begin to change you lose some of your friends that doesn’t share your values. You lose them by your choice or they just leave you because you have changed. Sometimes, you lose not only friends but also relatives, and even the community.
In some places in the world, when you become a Christian, the entire community disowns you. When I was at the seminary, one of my classmates told me that he was a former Mormon, and all his friends and relatives including his own children disowned him and his wife. Friends, discipleship can be costly. You have heard the saying that God grace if free, but not cheap.
When you lose your dear friends, you mourn.
3 – You have to let go of your ego
Some of you have heard about my childhood stories. I have had the opportunity to live like a prince and also live through the horror of a dysfunctional environment. I thought I have experience the harshest condition any kid could have gone through, and I thought God has made me humble through these experiences. I thought I have nothing left to let go because I was force to learn to let go of everything.