July 22, 2011 – What Would Jesus Think?

I have been looking forward to writing this blog because no matter what I write, no matter how bad my writing is or how delusional my thoughts are, I have an excuse to fall back on – the heat is getting to me!  I hope that you have been staying as cool as possible and let us pray for an end to this vicious heat wave.

It doesn’t seem that long ago, although I guess by now it has been 10 or more years ago, that one of the hot trends floating around was items that had the “WWJD” logo, which of course stood for “What Would Jesus Do?”.  As I was thinking about what to write this week I started going along the lines of “WWJT”, or “What Would Jesus Think?”.  Two of the more prominent stories this week are actually stories that have been ongoing for a while.  One is the negotiations going on in Washington, D.C. as to how to handle our huge national debt.  The other is the negotiations between the players and the owners of the National Football League.  These two stories have a couple things in common: 1) In both negotiations talks have been going on for months without reaching a final agreement, and 2) In both cases there are huge amounts of money at stake – which I guess would be a big reason for #1.

In the government negotiations, we know that our deficit continues to grow at an astronomical rate and that it cannot keep going at this pace, yet neither side appears willing to concede anything – I think partially in fear of offending some of their constituents and losing some of their “perks”.  In the NFL negotiations the sticking point has been making sure that each side gets what they feel is their rightful share of $9 BILLION in annual revenues – revenues that are projected to go up to $15-$18 BILLION in 10 years.  I don’t know what the final outcome will be, but it is obvious that a lot of people have already gotten rich and a lot of people will be getting even richer over the next 10 years or so, yet neither side seems willing to give in and to get on with business.

What appears to get lost in all of this is how the people that are on the outside looking in have been affected.  Even though no regular season games have been lost yet, employees of teams have had their salaries cut, and towns who host training camps may not get the economic impact that they were expecting.  And even though to this point it has been just threats, there is the possibility that our government could default on their loans and people who rely on government benefits or work for government contractors could see loss of income. 

As I have watched all of the bickering, all of the finger-pointing, all of the blame game, I couldn’t help but wonder what Jesus is thinking about all of this.  I know He would be disappointed that these parties seem to continue to put their own interests ahead of others.  One of my favorite and most powerful moments in the Bible was when Jesus chose His 12 apostles, and when He gave them their instructions He told them to take no money, no bag, and to stay in the homes of strangers.  This is just one of many examples in scripture when Jesus put the emphasis on ministry and helping those less fortunate, not on His own personal wealth.

Jesus of course did not turn away those who were rich, nor did He ever say that it was wrong for the rich to have the treasure that they had earned, but what He did say was that the rich should consider their posessions gifts from God, and that they should be generous to those who are less fortunate.  The rich, as well as anyone for that matter, should not think that what they have they earned all on their own, but that they were aided by God’s grace, and that they should not consider themselves independent, but dependent on God’s guidance.

Do I consider myself rich?  Well, in many ways, yes.  I do not drive the fanciest car, but I have one better than many others.  I do not have the most money, but I have more than many others.  I have enough electronic gadgets to supply a city block.  I am proud that I have earned what I have,  but I hope that I have done enough to not forget that there are many who are much more needy than I am, and I hope that what I have given back meets God’s satisfaction.  And I sincerely hope that those who represent us in government, and those who are responsible for employing many people in our country will stand up not only for their own interests, but for the interests of all people, and for the interests of what God asks of us.

In what has seemed to become a little bit of a tradition here, I share with you an article or a video that peaked my attention.  I ran across this blog this past week about the benefits of confession that gives a slightly different slant on things.  Here is the link to the article:

http://usccbmedia.blogspot.com/2011/07/confession-it-puts-you-straight-with.html

As I’ve been typing I’ve been watching the Cardinal game.  It has gone from the euphoria of a 4-0 lead to a closer 4-2 game, and now back to a 5-2 lead.  Such as it has gone for us Cardinal fans this year – up and down, up and down.  Oh well, at least it’s cool in front of my TV here.  Hopefully things will be a little more tolerable this coming week.  Have a great one.  Peace.

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