Friday, February 25, 2000

You Reap What You Sow

Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. (Galatians 6:7-8)

"Who wants to marry a multi-millionaire?" They should have called it "Who wants to make a mockery of God" or "Who wants to watch two people completely remove God from their union?" Twenty five million people tuned in to watch two complete strangers give themselves to each other in "holy" matrimony. What a joke. Unfortunately, it was a perfect description of the sad state of affairs our society is in.

Prayer was removed from schools years ago, and now we all reap the results on a regular basis with shooting after school shooting. Now God is slowly but surely being removed from marriage as well. Divorce rates are skyrocketing, states are starting to recognize homosexual marriages, and people are getting married not because of love but for money or a tax break.

God was the author of marriage way back to the Garden of Eden: "Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. The man said, 'This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called woman for she was taken out of man.' For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh." (Genesis 2:22-24). One can be sure last week's two hour special was scripted by a different author.

In four short months, Dee and I will be making the same vows to each other in front of about 25 million fewer viewers. But as long as the original author is tuned in (not just on July 1st but every day of our marriage), we will reap His blessing. My heart goes out to those who choose to make a mockery of Him, for they will reap something entirely different.

Monday, February 14, 2000

My Greatest Love

My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. (John 15:12-13)

Another Valentine's Day has arrived; a day of flowers, candy, romantic dinners, etc. Before I met Dee, Valentine's Day was a day I dreaded; it was the one day out of the year that reminded me like no other just how single and alone I was.

But five months from marriage, I am as equally thankful to have a special person to share the day with as I am remorseful at having felt single and alone all of those years. Truth be told, I never was. The greatest love I've ever known and ever will - Jesus Christ - was ever willing to spend each Valentine's Day with me; I just chose to be bitter and ignore Him instead. How could He sit idly by as another calendar year passed me by? Wouldn't He ever provide the woman of my dreams??

If I could turn back the hands of time to each February 14th for the past several years I would. I would replace those feelings of emptiness with feelings of love and appreciation for all that Christ had done for me. I would spend each of those days not feeling like a failure, but reflecting upon Him instead:

I would think about Christ's last days on earth and what it must have felt like to be:

  • Betrayed with a kiss by one of His own
  • Denied by His closest friend not once, not twice, but three times (all in the same night)
  • Arrested and convicted for doing no wrong

I would imagine what it must have sounded like to hear:

  • The cries for Barabbas & the shouts of Crucify Him! Crucify Him!
  • The crown of thorns being shoved deep within His skull
  • The sound of His own flesh being ripped from His back

I would imagine the pain He must have felt as:

  • He carried His own cross
  • Lots were being cast for His clothes
  • Each nail was driven into His hands and feet

Sometimes I wonder just who Christ was thinking of as He was nailed to the cross. I like to think he thought of each of us by name; even a guy from New Jersey who would bitterly turn his back on Him year after year on February 14th.

Sunday, February 6, 2000

A Hardened Heart

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God's people who are in need. Practice hospitality. (Romans 12:9-13)

February marks the fifth month in the past ten that I've worked in New York. Most of my life I vowed that I would never work in New York; the fast pace, the traffic, and the multitudes of people were simply too much for me to bear. But amazingly, I'm growing to like it. On one side of the building, there's the Statue of Liberty. On another, there's the Empire State Building and the Twin Towers. The view is simply breathtaking.

When I first started my consulting trips last May, I was in awe of all the droves of people that filled the NYC subways. I remember taking a step back and laughing as I watched thousands of people run up the escalators and scoot their way across the hallways. I vowed I would never get caught up in the "I will do anything to catch my train" philosophy. But I was wrong. As the weeks and months went by, there I was running through the halls (with my heavy laptop bag in hand) weaving my way through the enemies blocking my path. Didn't they know I had a 6:27 pm train to catch??

But this past week I promised myself to take that same step back I took last May; not to laugh at all the thousands of people cluttering the halls, but to see if there was someone in need. I started the day with a "Good Morning" to the man who sits in a wheelchair outside the New Brunswick train station every morning. I thought regretfully about all those mornings I whistled by him without even thinking twice about it.

I rode the train to Newark, and stood in line for the PATH to pay my $1. I saw a man struggling with the machine and the crumpled dollar bill he was never going to succeed with. I thought about all the past failed attempts I had witnessed and all the frustration that had arisen inside me each time - I decided this time to insert a non-crumpled dollar bill on his behalf instead.

I rode the PATH to the World Trade Center, and started the long walk to the account. I saw a lady with two arm braces struggling to walk through the crowded halls. The next day, there she was again. I began to wonder if she had been there all these months. Was I too busy to notice? Was I so eager to get to the account or to get home that I simply didn't care?

I've got 3 more weeks left in NYC. My hope is that a man in a wheelchair will get 15 "Good Mornings", a person in desperate need will get a crisp $1 bill, and a lady in 2 arm braces will get 15 prayers.