Based on the rabbit trails you might be led down from yesterdayâ€™s post, I feel that it is important for me to mention that my ideology is not moving in the direction of communism, or even socialism. I am not anti-capitalism. Unbridled capitalism, however, fueled by greed and bottom lines is a dangerous train thatâ€™s hard to slow down. I also feel it is important to acknowledge that many of us have what we have, perhaps because of hard work, but perhaps more because of opportunity. I am thankful that the Lord chose to bless me with the family He did. I received more than enough, including an extensive education — I was given enough opportunity that I literally think, within reason, the possibilities for my life have been limitless. If I worked hard, in my place, in my sphere, I probably couldâ€™ve become anything I wanted to be.
I used to swim competitively. My favourite moment was standing on the blocks…looking at the smooth, rippleless waters in front of me, seeing a race, a flip turn, a sprint to the finish (I never was much of a distance swimmer) and seeing possibility waiting to welcome me as my fingertips slipped past the surface. Weâ€™d each climb onto those blocks, all identical in height and width and build, (the starting blocks, not the swimmers!) and we each had a chance at winning.
But we cannot ignore the fact that in the race of life, we donâ€™t all the start on the same blocks. And if Iâ€™d ever been in a race where everyone else had starting blocks and I didnâ€™t, I think it would be reasonable for me to sayÂ This is an unfair race! We know life deals us different cards. And we love stories where people overcome…where people who donâ€™t have those blocks to dive off end up winning the race.
The second most famous swimmer in South Africa is Natalie du Toit. She was hit by a car riding her scooter from swim practice to school, and one of her legs was amputated from the knee down. Before she could even walk again, she was back in the pool. She won gold at the Paralympics in 2004 and 2008, and was the first amputee ever to qualify for the Olympic Games. She competed in Beijing in 2008 and placed 16th in the 10K swim. Swimming against people with two legs.
It feels good when the victor is the last one anybody expected.
It sounds beautiful when Jesus says Let him who is without sin cast the first stone, because we know an underdog nobody expected has just been given a second chance.
It warms our hearts when Paul says I donâ€™t have money for you, but in Jesusâ€™ Name, get up and walk because value was placed on someone society didnâ€™t see as very valuable. That second chance…that new start…that underdog victory…that leg up onto the stallion of opportunity can bring us to our feet with cheers of joy, to our knees with hearts of thankfulness.
If you know Jesus, you know second chances.
And what I want to say is that we, who were given some great blocks to dive into the pool of life from, have countless opportunities to be a blessing, to be a help, to be a voice for people who werenâ€™t given any blocks at all. Do I want any government at any point in time to dictate how and to whom weâ€™re a blessing? No.
Because I believe the power is right where is belongs…the energy and resources are available…the possibility that we could be the generation that eliminates extreme poverty and human trafficking, the generation that makes sure everyone has access to clean water and basic food supplies…it is absolutely within our grasp.
And when I say â€œwe,â€ I speak to the Church, the bride of Christ…the pearl of great price that the Merchant gave everything to buy.
In science class, we learned the difference between potential and kinetic energy. A stretched out rubber band has potential energy, which can set a chain of events in motion. If a paper clip rests inside the stretched rubber band, the rubber band has the potential to launch the paper clip across the room. When someone lets go, the energy becomes kinetic — there is movement. There is change. There is no longer the potential that something will happen. It happens, and then it happened.
It just takes us grasping hold of the potential we have and releasing that energy toward a common purpose. We have the strength and resources to launch something bigger than a paper clip. And the trajectory could stretch to the ends of the Earth.
Do you see a goal you could cling to today? A cause you would give up your creature comforts for? Make Jesus the reason. Make Jesus the cause. Let Jesus be the One who inspires you to make a difference in the world around you.
If we are the generous people weâ€™ve been called to be, we wonâ€™t need government regulation of charity. We, the Church, can lead the way to make the world a better place for everyone. We could change the world for the better. We are changing the world in a lot of good ways. The question is will we live up to our full potential? We could do so much more.
“Is this not the fast that I have chosen: To loose the bonds of wickedness, To undo the heavy burdens, To let the oppressed go free, And that you break every yoke?Â Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, And that you bring to your house the poor who are cast out; When you see the naked, that you cover him, And not hide yourself from your own flesh?Â Then your light shall break forth like the morning, Your healing shall spring forth speedily, And your righteousness shall go before you; The glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.”