Dawn of the Planet of the Apes constructs a world where a thriving population of apes and a decimated community of human beings find themselves locked in mortal combat. Caesar and his simian friends want their forest safe and undisturbed by human activity, but an emerging population of people needs to refit an abandoned hydroelectric plant at the heart of the California forest in order to reclaim their place in the world. I thought the movie was fun to watch and extremely thought provoking.
One of my favorite lines comes as the conflict is finally coming to a boil. The elated human beings suddenly feel alive again when they suddenly generate enough power to illuminate a small shopping dining area in San Francisco. The apes are perfectly content in their primitive tree houses, unlighted and packed tightly together in the forest canopy outside the city. One of the humans observes the apes from a distance and comments, “They don’t need electricity. That’s their strength.”
Both the humans in the city and the apes in the trees can enjoy family, neighbors, food and a place to live. The animals are quite content. The people are miserable without their creature comforts. Creature comforts, really?
I will never forget one of those eureka moments I experienced in Malindi on the coast of Kenya years ago. My team and I frequently enjoyed the hospitality of Kenyan believers who lived in very humble dwellings, but enjoyed the constant nearness of family, and the joy of simple meals. People honored us as their guests with pure delights as simple as milk from freshly harvested coconuts or fish and rice at a table crowded with family and relatives in the middle of a weekday.
It struck me how difficult it would be for most of us back in the States to host an impromptu luncheon for special guests in the middle of a busy Tuesday and actually expect most of our relatives to be there! Here in the USA we’re too busy working for a living to afford our houses, cars and high tech devices. I realized that these “poor” people enjoy wonderful privileges most of us could never afford.
It dawned on me: so that’s why possessions and trinkets are called the trappings of wealth. They can trap us in demanding schedules and give us only money in return.
Here’s what Christ said: “Don’t worry about what you will eat or what you will wear, for the pagans run after those things and your heavenly father knows that you need them. But seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all those other things will be given to you as well.” Hey, don’t misunderstand: a good job is a good thing, but it’s not everything.
Lift up the Cross!