A rock and a hard place

Here in Greece work is scarce at the moment. It is what is sometimes referred to as an employer’s market. There are more than enough people seeking the one job and so the employer can ask a low wage and even cheat them.

I have had a very hard time finding work. At times I do and others in the community slander me. Sadly no body is willing to make a sworn affidavit so that I can help my neighbor with self control and character (accountability).

Recently I worked. It was the first time in Greece, I have been here six years and so I am not experienced in the process. After a few days I got paid but was not asked for my tax id, etc. And the pay was low. So I sought advice and then went to the employment office and asked for the facts as to what my obligations are and what wage should I receive. So when I returned to work I simply handed him my numbers needed to hire me.

Now fear gripped me. What if he is unwilling to do the right thing and pay the government? I have four kids my wife does not work. We do not get the four kid benefit something about we have not been in Greece ten years (we have been for seven) we do not qualify for welfare for the same reason. Many people panic at this point and exclaim “how do you live?” Such fear that men have.

Well my employer offered to give me the money that would go to the government and continue to pay me under the table (a bribe). I replied that 1,000,000 people working one day in Greece is a lot of six euros that the government needs. Just because they do work should I do wrong in return? So he did the paper work paid me and yes let me go – that day! He did the paper work knowing I had consulted with the employment office. He even paid me a tip so at to satisfy me and get rid of me.

So I can’t pay my bills. I could have rationalized and said that working under the table enables me to pay the electric bill so I am doing good. That enjoying the benefit of having four kids they will never shut it off and allowing the bill to increase is a greater evil. But wouldn’t that be a lie I tell myself to justify my fear of what will I eat. And is it really a fear of what will I eat or a fear of not having pleasure?

This is where faith comes in. Jesus said the birds do not worry about what they will eat. Is it that simple? God I am going to do the right thing therefore you must feed me? But how – how will he do this? Well you can’t walk on water if you don’t step out on the water. Understanding does not come first but doing does! You will never know until you go all in!

Recently they offered a food card. We applied and were told that we might be lying since we claim four kids but our 2014 tax’s filed for 2013 says three kids. Well the baby was born in 2014 and will not show up until 2015 on our tax’s. Apparently we had ten days to clarify the discrepancy but were NOT notified when the ten days began and only found out the day they were handing out the cards which is too late and cannot refile. My wife was upset. I said if God has provided these seven years then he could have made this happen and didn’t. Yes they are stupid but no we will be fine. She was still not Ok so I encouraged her to send something to the government so that she does not hold a grudge.

Yes it can seem like suffering. Like the days or week when we have NO diapers. But this is really a great inconveniency, like the old days of washing clothes at the river. We forget that just 100 years ago there were no phones, electricity, one could not travel to the other side of the world in one day!

Greece is a nation of Christianity but does not act like Christ at all. Faith is not some theory you believe but is suppose to be an experience you had. So the day we would have nothing to eat the whole week we searched every nook and cranny for any change and none was left in the house I said to God “how can I tell people to trust you – to choose to do the right thing and God will provide if we do not eat tonight?” I was angry and a bit panicked saying to myself “what have I chosen? What have I done?’ I then went in the house and my wife walked up to me stunned and in shock – in plain view on top the dresser she just found a two Euro coin! This was not possible. With that we bought tomato sauce, spaghetti, flour, yeast from the baker, and a can of condensed milk. This gave us dinner and breakfast for tomorrow (home made bread).

Time and again: Once we had no diapers prayed and in the still small voice of God heard to go to the store and buy some. We have no money and reasoned that maybe someone in America put money in our American account – the worst that will happen is we will be embarrassed at the register when our card is declined. On the way there we found a ten Euro bill in the gutter!

Another time I was walking and heard the still small voice say “look in the garbage can” this is not a comfortable thing to do when you fear the opinions of men. Even thinking that it might cause one to say “Is this how God provided for having done justly?” but I obeyed and there was a bag of dippers. How odd!

One day I told God that I miss eating an omelet. The next day I was sitting and I hear him say “Go for a walk” as I walked he said “Go to sfakion street” as I walked I heard “Look left” and there was a bag with thirty fresh eggs!

So it has gotten easier to have faith due to experience. But endurance the long lasting of it is still to be conquered.

Why is Greece such a mess? Well in my opinion it is their philosophy. Their foundational philosophy (I will not go into it).

In original Christianity it was a family, the church was the mother. You can read my other posts to see some of the idea. It is no longer a family or a mother but more of an institution of cultural tradition, a convention. Like a soccer club that loves the sport but hates the other team even though without the other team there is no sport they are clicks, and clubs.

They no longer love their neighbor as themselves. They neglect mercy, justice, and faith. The double edge sword of love is suppose to heal every wound and to burn out every evil. Like the priest and the religious man they say that helping the injured man is less important. They have lost the interpretation of the Samaritan to mean a man whse souls is injured, they have lost the meaning that food is to know Gods will and clothing is to do his will.

David inspired of the Holy Spirit said he has never seen the man who does the right thing hunger nor his children begging for bread.

Me doing the right thing has so scared my religious parents both American and Greek that they feared that we are starving and sought to have our kids taken from us. I was raised to believe in God and when I chose too – those who demanded that I trust him said I was crazy to trust him?

This is like a man who asks you to do him a favor and then turns you in as a criminal for having done what he asked. It is a deep betrayal.

They have their reward and I have mine. We have trust maturity and serenity. They have their feast filled with back biting, murmurs, slander and contention.

Solomon inspired by the Holy Spirit said “better is a little with joy than feats with strife”

He also wrote that to do justly and judgment is better than sacrifice.

You see my employers business was filled with Icons. They believe that these honor God, but they are a sacrifice they are not obedience. As King Saul disobeyed in slaughtering the sheep they too post these icons as a drug as a way of silencing their conviction of guilt the burning coals that are there to mature them and heal them are smothered with false religious ritual rather than simply doing the right thing..

God speaks if you listen. He will tell you what you need to hear and not what you always want to hear. (Socrates called it the oracle within)

The current Greek government gave up. Surrendered! They chose to work under the table and not do the right thing for they do not know that God would take care of them, if they simply asked him too and for his guidance. If I was caught working there is consequence. The government will chastise me for having done what they did? Jesus said when you see hypocrisy to flee.

..if My people who are called by My name will HUMBLE themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”

Jesus said to seek the kingdom but everyone forgets the conjunction to that – and his justice! They like to say his righteousness as if to know how good he is. NO! To seek from him the strength, knowledge and trust TO DO THE RIGHT THING despite fears and instincts of the natural so that one can experience the supernatural. That despite how many times of how often we may fail that if we seek him to help us fix and do he will forgive mercifully anxiously!!!

Humble is what is missing more than the praying. “God I need some experience first in order to trust you. God what will I eat? How will you feed me?”

You see Moses was humble and yet had false humility. First he said I cannot speak. “So Ya God your stupid to choose me don’t you know anything I can’t speak!” Then he said Ok God how will they know you sent me? Then God gave him experience right then and there. And the ability to give those he was sent to to know he was sent. And despite being sent things got worse before they got better and despite all the signs they chose to murmur not willing to endure the surgery.

Such is a religion that does not mature people. Justice with mercy and learning to trust God matures us.

Brian

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