Archive for the ‘Gratitude’ Category

Faithful Servant

Saturday, December 30th, 2006

“His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.” Matt 25:21

What do you think Gerald Ford, James Brown, and Saddam Hussein experienced after their passing?

It is certainly one of the mysteries of human existence.

But it is one that many people have thought and written about.

For those who read and believe the Bible, there is certainly some guidance. We Christians believe in a life after death where we have an opportunity learn more about our Creator.

Christians aren’t the only ones who believe that man is an eternal spirit. Most religions have some sense of existence past death. If nothing else it provides some purpose and direction to the life that we have here on earth.

One thought that I’ve been toying with, however, is that we experience exactly what we are expecting and that is where our next journey starts. So James Brown might find a God who looks a lot like Cynthia Robinson in her prime leading a tireless tight rhythm section that lives on the one and never misses a beat.

Gerald Ford on the other hand may find himself in front of someone who looks Coach Kipke mounting a huge comeback in the fourth quarter to beat OSU 42-38 in the 1934 game of his senior season. Or, based on his love of golf, it would be a perfect round similar to Caddyshack.

Saddam Hussein, however, is probably a darker picture. He was a Muslim, but clearly his actions didn’t align well with the tenets of his religion. His life was dominated by violence and ended in the same way. He might face the judgment of a fearful and demanding God. Or if his public displays were just for show, he might experience the despair of a seemingly uninhabited void. In his case it might take a while for him to figure out how to move beyond his thoughts of who he was and discover that God exists and loves him.

They all are on the next step of their journey of discovering more about themselves and their Creator. It is the common journey that unites all of us. For these three and everyone who has gone before us, bon voyage.

Servant leader

Thursday, December 7th, 2006

Anybody catch Jimmy Carter in his recent book tour?

Whether or not you agree with his political views, you have to be impressed with the man.

He was vilified as one of the least effective presidents in recent history, yet in his life after the presidency, he has not wavered in his commitment to peace, to the poor, and seeking justice for the oppressed.

His support for Habitat for Humanity as turned a simple idea of neighbors helping neighbors into a world wide movement.

He is recognized around the world as a man of principle. He was awarded the Nobel Peace prize in 2002 (only the third US president to win that award). He has been an effective negotiator and international election monitor, though he holds no formal post in any government.

He criticized Clinton for pardoning a political contributor. He was an early and vocal critic of Bush’s decision to invade Iraq and the detention policies that followed. In Our Endangered Values: America‘s Moral Crisis, he details his concerns over the political influence of the religious right. In Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid, he holds Israel accountable for their treatment of the Palestinians and lays out his recommendations for a path to peace in the area.

He obviously is politically fearless, and yet even as he is holding the world’s leaders to a higher standard, he seems to treat all with Christian kindness, humility, patience, and love. During an interview I saw recently, he even had kind words to say about Nixon while at the same time acknowledging Nixon’s glaring weaknesses.

I don’t know if we will ever see another man like Carter attempt to lead the country as President, but the world is clearly a better place for his efforts to lead a life guided by his deep faith in God.

“And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.” Matt 23:12