Archive for June, 2009

Greed – One of the Seven Deadly Sins, Alive and Well

ca008 I fear that the word “sin” has all but lost it’s meaning in America today. The concept of sin seems foreign in a “do what feels good society”, but as diminished and disguised as it may be, rest assured it is alive and well. Sometimes I hear the refrain that things, historically speaking, have been this bad before but I have a hard time believing that the fast paced excesses we’ve experienced at the beginning of the 21st century are anything but unprecedented.

“Greed” has driven Wall Street and corporate America to the brink of economic chaos. Can any one person truly be worth a $40 million dollar bonus? Does any one person really deserve $40 million dollars for running a corporation into the ground while bankrupting the workers pension funds. This tale has become all to common today. The average guy like myself wonders how any board of directors could approve such behavior. Well it is ashamedly simple. Strong CEO’s often control who gets appointed to the board. These positions often carry large six-figure salaries for working only a handful of days a year accompanied by many corporateĀ  perks such as new cars, access to company jets, expense accounts, etc., etc. You get the picture. From the stockholders perspective it’s like having a “family of foxes” watching the hen house.

It’s time for a priority change in the good old USA. We need to stop naming TV shows after the seven deadly sins (ex: Greed), stop paying sports figures millions to play a game (maybe we could afford to go back to the stadium), raise the salary of our police officers, fireman and teachers and who knows maybe each corporation could find someone talented enough to do the CEO job for a meager salary of oh say a million dollars or so.

1 Timothy 6:10 – “For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and have pireced themselves with many griefs.” Bernard Maadoff is probably the 21st century poster child for this prophetic verse. I’m unsure if he wandered away from the faith but it is apparent that he lived fast and furious. It all came crashing down, probably all too soon and now what is there to show for it (besides a 150 year prison sentence). Perhaps he will find faith through his upcoming ordeal. At least we can hope and pray that God in His mercy will show Bernie the redeeming value of the Cross. While considering the excessive greed exhibited by Wall Street fat cats it might serve all of us well to take stock of our own lives and guard against allowing greedy appetites to determine the direction of our own integrity. We must recognize that the allure of sin can be a powerful trap if we aren’t careful to avoid its call. It isn’t the about how large or small our appetite for sin is. Sin is still sin.

It’s Not About Me?

Williamsburg and misc 091We Christians are great at latching on to the latest cliches such as “It’s not about you”. What often starts out as a well meaning point gets strechted out of shape until it begins to send the wrong message or become the latest crutch. Hopefully we do realize that God has a plan and each of us are only a small part of the big picture. I guess we are all guilty sometimes of wanting God to re-arrange the universe to fit our picture of what life should be like and in that instance the saying makes a valid point. However when taken to extreme we can be left with such an insignificant view of ourselves that we end up expecting nothing from God. I’ve been wanting to begin a message by asking people if God is living up to their expectations? Some might easily say “yes” as they have no expectations to begin with. Others might say “no” because God isn’t coming through the way they wish and in that case they need to be reminded that it isn’t all about them. A better query might be to ask if we are living up to God’s expectations? (This a point for another writing because there are many misconceptions about what this means). But wait a minute! Isn’t it ever about me? Do I ever matter? We know that God has a plan for our lives, so in some sense it must be about me. Aren’t we fearfully and wonderfully made in His image in order that we may fellowship with our Father? Don’t we belong to to a royal priesthood? Aren’t we part of the body of Christ, the pure spotless bride. Somewhere in all of this I believe we need to develop a little bit of Christian self-esteem in light of “whose” we are. It’s all right to boast in the things that God has done for us. I want to have great expectations of a victorious life in Christ. I must believe that when life’s road twists and turns in directions that were not my choosing God has a blessing in store because I trust His judgment more than I prize my own. I’m thankful that it was enough about me that He included me in His atonement on the cross. In that sense I fail to see how it could be any more about me.