Friday, October 09, 2009

The Winning Side

Source: “The Word” by John Ortberg. Christian Century; August 9, 2003; pg 17.
Keywords: kingdom, victory, “not yet”, battle, win, lose
Scripture: Ephesians 6:10-20, John 6:56-69

Jim Wallis writes that when the South African government canceled a political rally against apartheid, Desmond Tutu led a worship service in St. George's Cathedral. The walls were lined with soldiers and riot police carrying guns and bayonets, ready to close it down. Bishop Tutu began to speak of the evils of the apartheid system—how the rulers and authorities that propped it up were doomed to fail. He pointed a finger at the police who were there to record his words: "You may be powerful—very powerful—but you are not God. God cannot be mocked. You have already lost."

Then, in a moment of unbearable tension, the bishop seemed to soften. Coming out from behind the pulpit, he flashed that radiant Tutu smile and began to bounce up and down with glee. "Therefore, since you have already lost, we are inviting you to join the winning side."

The crowd roared, the police melted away, and the people began to dance. Don't go away, Paul says. Put on your armor and dance. I am inviting you to join the winning side.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Weighing the Children

Source: "Dressed for Action" by Dr. Ken Klaus, Lutheran Hour Ministries, June 21, 2009
Keywords: priority, first things, fundamental, treasure, important

Glen Adsit was a missionary to China. Accompanied by his family, Glen tried to share the Savior's story of salvation as quietly and secretly as was possible. Apparently he was not quiet or secretive enough. Glen was caught and he, along with his family, were placed under house arrest. After some time, soldiers came to the house and told him he was being deported home to America. The soldiers also informed them they would be allowed to take 200 lbs of stuff with him. 200 lbs of their own choosing.

But how do you pick 200 lbs of stuff? How to decide what would be left behind. Eventually, and not to everyone's satisfaction, they managed to reduce the pile of stuff to 200 lbs. 200 lbs to the ounce. Glen and his family, with their 200 lbs of stuff were ready when the soldiers arrived. "Have you weighed everything", an officer wanted to know. "Yes." "Did you weigh the children?" Weigh the children? Of course they hadn't weighed the children! For Glen and his wife, the children had been a given, the children had been taken for granted. In a split second the officer's question realigned everything. The new typewriter, the valuable vase, the precious picture, instantly became trash and were set aside. Bringing the children with them, making sure the children were safe, became the parent's single priority, their chief concern.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Gift and Giver's Remorse

Source: "Divorcing husband wants kidney back," January 6, 2009, Illustration by Jim L. Wilson and Jim Sandell
Keyword: grace, marriage, gift, gratitude, divorce

When his wife needed a life saving kidney transplant, Dr. Richard Batista gave her one of his. Seven years later, when his wife filed for divorce, Batista decided he wanted the kidney back. Since the kidney was necessary to sustain his wife’s life, he said he would be willing to accept 1.5 million dollars, the estimated value of the kidney. Batista admitted the strain of his wife’s medical issues threatened their relationship at the time. He said. “My first priority was to save her life. The second bonus was to turn the marriage around.”

Medical Ethicists argue Batista will not get his kidney back, nor is he likely to get any money from the deal. Robert Veatch, from Georgetown University says the case won’t succeed for two reasons. First, United States law prohibits buying or selling human organs. Second, Veatch says donating an organ is giving a gift and there is no way to collect compensation for a gift even if you regret the decision later. Veatch added, ”When you give something, you can’t get it back.”

We can be thankful that God will never revoke His life-giving gift of grace.