“We need a coat with two pockets. In one pocket there is dust, and in the other pocket there is gold. We need a coat with two pockets to remind us of who we are.” (Hasidic tale)
Does your coat have two pockets? I ask because many of us wear a coat with only one.
If we only carry around dust, we will live with the crushing awareness that we are fragile, vulnerable, small, dependent, and broken. Self-loathing will inevitably set in.
If we only carry around gold, we will live with the crushing delusion that we are grand, glorious, and precious without qualification. Narcissistic self-aggrandizement will inevitably set in.
Where can we find a coat with both pockets? The gospel.
Only the message of Jesus’ incarnation, atonement, and resurrection provides us with such a coat. In the gospel’s simple message we discover, as Timothy Keller notes:
“We are more sinful and flawed in ourselves than we ever dared believe, yet at the very same time we are more loved and accepted in Jesus Christ than we ever dared hope.”
We are broken, unworthy, lost, fragile and feeble creatures. Dust.
We are loved, dignified, justified, redeemed, beautified, and glorious in Christ. Gold.