Pastor's Corner

20 Apr

Mid-Week Challege

If you were born today, which country would provide you the very best opportunity to live a healthy, safe, reasonably prosperous, and upwardly mobile life?  Back in 2010 NEWSWEEK Magazine did a first-ever “Best Countries” special issue.  They chose five categories of national well-being—education, health, quality of life, economic competitiveness, and political environment—and compiled metrics within these categories across 100 nations.  Famed billionaire Warren Buffett has said, “anything good that's ever happened to me can be traced back to the fact that I was born in the right country—America—at the right time.” So where and when you are born makes a huge difference in how you might turnout, right?  So where did America land back then? Eleventh place! Before you lose it, you might want to go back and read that article and compare it to an evaluation that famed Christian author and speaker, Chuck Colson, made around the time the first study came out.

In 2010, Colson used his 35 years in prison ministry and the writings of Thomas Friedman (The World Is Flat) to evaluate America’s position at number 11. In Friedman’s book, The World Is Flat, his conclusion is that due to technology and travel, almost everyone has the same access to resources and opportunity. What separates us is what we choose to do with those same resources.  While evaluating the areas of advancement in other countries listed higher than the present day (2010) USA, Friedman writes, “Most importantly, they (other countries) have values like our greatest generation: They have a willingness to postpone gratification questions.” Colson adds, “That’s a Christian virtue, deferred gratification, paying your bills, providing for your kids in the future. In a flat world where everyone has access to everything, values matter more than ever. I discovered early on that the reason the prisons were being filled wasn’t all the sociological theories about crime that we hear generally. It was the fact studied at Harvard in 1986 by two great social scientists: the lack of moral training during the morally formative years.”

Wow, that was 12 years ago, but even more spot-on today! Watching the news over the past few days it has become clearer that our problem is not a resource problem, not an education problem, the problem is that we are raising a generation that lacks male role models. The family has broken down. These kids aren’t learning character. We all know that character is not taught, it is learned.  Young men and women become successful adults based on the habits they learn in the family first.  Character comes from associations that you become part of, where you find your identity—you find role models and other people.  You cannot teach these things in the classroom.  You learn character from the behavior of those around you. Colson said it best, “You learn character by living with people who create an environment which is righteous where people live righteously in that environment.” Somewhere in the past few years we lost that in our nation. When people try to bring attention to this fact they are labeled as racists, bigots, extremist, or the religious right.  It’s sad that they go there because Thomas Friedman considers himself a very liberal, secular Jewish thinker and he correctly labeled our problem back in 2010.

Don’t be intimidated by those who use “bully labels” and threats to force you to succumb to their way of thinking.  Now is the time to be a model of Biblical man and womanhood. The next generation is watching and they are selecting their role models. Are you a good or bad one? History will decide. 

Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Deuteronomy 6:7

Serving the Savior,

Bro. Jonathan

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