Monday, June 11, 2012

Power Blindness

“The large crowd of the Jews then learned that He was there; and they came, not for Jesus’ sake only, but that they might also see Lazarus, whom He raised from the dead.  But the chief priests planned to put Lazarus to death also; because on account of him many of the Jews were going away and were believing in Jesus” (John 12:9-11).
The raising of Lazarus from the dead sparked differing responses.  Of course, Mary and Martha would have been overjoyed at the news.  The brother who had died was now very much alive once again.  For others, it was the miracle that prompted them to put their faith in the Miracle Worker (11:45).  For still others, it was the event that led to discussions as to how best to eliminate Jesus as a rival (11:46-57).
          The lust for power and influence is a deadly sin that leads to blindness in its victims.  Instead of acknowledging Jesus as a conduit of God’s power, the Jewish leadership saw Jesus as a threat to their base of power.  And for that reason, they began plotting a way to eliminate Him.  It’s the age-old ugliness of power politics.  It can be found in every corner of human relationships.  If you’ve experienced it, you know that some will stop at nothing to gain and maintain power over others.
The opening verses of this article highlight just how bad the problem can become.  These men were so drunk with power that they were not satisfied with just killing the Miracle Worker. They also began planning to kill the one who had been blessed by the miracle!  That’s right.  They were prepared to take the life of the very one who had been given life.  They would stop at nothing to satisfy their craving for power.
Father, please shield us from the consuming lust for power.  Forgive us for the times we have wounded others in our blindness.  May we ever be amazed instead of angered by Your powerful workings in our world.
God loves you!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Is Money The Answer?

A few days ago, Gina Rinehart made it to the top of the list.  The 58 year old heiress to a huge Australian mining business is now the richest woman in the world.  How rich, you ask?  Try to wrap your mind around these numbers.  Last year, Gina Rinehart’s wealth grew by 19 billion dollars.  That’s an impressive number by any estimation.  But it becomes even more mind-boggling when you break that one large number down.  Nineteen billion dollars a year breaks down into approximately 52 million dollars A DAY.  Or 2 million dollars AN HOUR.  Or 36,000 dollars A MINUTE.  Or 582 dollars A SECOND.  Incredible!

Apparently, though, that kind of money doesn’t solve all of life’s problems.  Three of Ms. Rinehart’s four children have brought legal action against her over the vesting of a trust fund associated with some of the family wealth.  The youngest child, who has taken her mother’s side in the family feud, has criticized her siblings publicly for damaging the family’s good name.  Some have been critical of how Ms. Rinehart HAS spent some of her billions.  Others have been just as critical of how she HASN’T spent some of her billions.  I guess wealth isn’t a cure-all after all.

If you are tempted to believe that wealth will always make things better, think again.  Consider this example from the life of the world’s richest woman.  Wealth can solve some problems.  But it can also create problems or make existing problems worse.  Money can’t buy family harmony.  Riches can’t guarantee that everyone will approve of  you or your decisions.

But what really matters for me is, not how Gina Rinehart handles her wealth, but how I handle MY wealth.  Most of the world would be just as incredulous at my per second income as I am by Ms. Rinehart’s per second income.  Before I can shake my head at the problems wealth has caused for Gina Rinehart, I must be honest enough to admit my own struggles.  Father, please help ME not to trust in riches (Proverbs 11:28).

God loves you!