Posts Tagged ‘righteousness’

Innovation needs Righteousness

November 7, 2015

I find it interesting that the Bible records two men named Lamech who have inspiring, imaginative, and innovative children. One son, Jabal, began the first communities and commerce by creating settlements and domesticating herds. His brother Jubal gave us culture by inventing musical instruments. Their other brother Tubal-cain gave us technology with the process for creating bronze. At the same time there was another Lamech whose son was a farmer. His only other description was that he was a righteous man. And only that son, Noah, was saved through the flood. I see the pattern reemerging with the new innovators and inspirational people disassociated with and ridiculing the righteous.

When Israel first became a nation their neighbors had far more advanced metallurgy. The Philistines had moved from bronze to iron unlike the Israelites. Only two people had these new and improved swords – King Saul and his son Jonathan. After David and his band of righteous men lived among the Philistines they were able to acquire the new smithing technology. David may have started with sling and stone but reigned with iron in his fist.

Technology and innovation are not bad but they are best used in tandem with righteousness. Did you know that hospitals in the West began because of Christians taking care of the discarded sick along the roads of the Roman Empire? The arts and culture appeared on the walls and ceilings, and in the music-filled halls of the churches before museums and theaters were created. New technology and the first major use of print media empowered the Reformation under people like Martin Luther and the printing press. Public education began in the 1780’s as an ecumenical movement to create what they dubbed Sunday Schools where children for the first time could learn reading, writing, arithmetic, and biblical comprehension no matter their economic status. Before foster care and nursing homes there were church-funded orphanages and convalescence homes. All of these were publically funded by generous donations and not underwritten by the government.

Some people say that the culture of America started to decline the moment prayer was taken out of school. I think it was earlier than that. It was when the church allowed all of these institutions to be run apart from the church. Our local schools are suffering because of an impasse on the state budget. Healthcare is extraordinarily expensive now that the government is managing it. Hospitals are ending chaplaincies. The red tape for honorable foster parents is both headache and heartache. The media even attacks Christians suggesting that just by being religious disqualifies one for even the office of the president.

Genesis reminds us that a nation filled with community, commerce, culture, and technology apart from God is no match for the Flood. I believe we are called to be innovators and simultaneously proclaim our righteousness through our work. Join me in reclaiming our part in the public to create a just society based firstly on Christian compassion.

Supermarket Righteousness

July 3, 2012

Sometimes we Christians make righteousness a theological state of mind rather than a practice of our faith. I once heard Bruce Waltke state that “righteousness is disadvantaging yourself in order to advantage others.” I think that is one aspect that ought to be explored in, say, supermarket etiquette. Does righteousness exist in your trip to the store? Righteousness is how you respond to the situations that present themselves in public and in public places when nobody is watching.

Take for instance those pesky shopping carts in the parking lot. How does one express righteousness with a shopping cart? Pretty easily. I remember when we used to have to bring the cart back to the store when we were through with it. Many people would just leave them strewn across the parking lot. Now we have cart corrals. I feel for all those youngsters sent out into the weather to retrieve those carts because for some reason we shoppers cannot seem to place them in the corrals in a decent and orderly manner. They are all in disarray making it more difficult for others to place their carts in the corral and sometimes they get stuck up on each other because of how we carelessly leave the front portion open. We are in a hurry, we know someone else is paid for that job, so we are quick to leave it a mess. How Christian! Aren’t we supposed to leave the world better than we found it? Are we not called to ease the work of others, not add to it? Yes, it will take you 10 more precious seconds. No, you will not get any thanks, and the workers will seldom see you do it. But God is watching how you live out your righteousness. Place the cart in the corral stacking them as intended – you may even need to move a couple other carts to line them up appropriately. That small act of kindness, of taking time to be nice is the mark of righteousness. Yup, you are disadvantaged, you receive no pay, no thanks, and you have to spend more time at the cart corral. But the advantage you give to others, to the young employee trying to make a living pushing shopping carts, to the motorists trying to dodge the overflowing cart bins, to the next person to place their cart in the corral… if you can be a righteous cart-caretaker then when you find yourself in the middle of the big righteous decisions of life, you will have the advantage.

Now, after you tackle the carts, just think of all the ways righteousness presents itself on the shelves and floors of the supermarket. This is your cathedral of holiness. Misplaced items, dropped change, that one bag of groceries left in your pile from the person before you, fallen displays (even if you didn’t do it), and that nagging sign that says, “20 items or less” or “cash only.” Yup. Having a theory of righteousness and no practice of it leaves you with bupkis. Christ died so you could live – so live out your Christianity quietly in public. Who knows who might be watching a few aisles down… or a few clouds above…

Blessing You, Blessing the World (Jeremiah 4:2)

October 5, 2010

Oh Lord, You call me to throw away the things I put first before You. Boy, that’s hard. Sometimes I think maybe I can just do the things I placed before you a little less, but you say, for me, I should throw it out. Ditch the idol, not, spend less time with the idol. Help me to let go fully and give You all of me.

Your word today through Jeremiah is that blessing You is found by being a blessing in the world. If I turn from my idols, swear allegiance to Jesus and live these three things out: truth, justice and righteousness, that not only would I be blessing and worshipping you, but I would be evangelizing. “As surely as the Lord lives, you could do… truth, justice, and righteousness. Then you would be a blessing to the nations of the world and all people would come and praise My name.” (Jeremiah 4:2) If I am truthful, work for justice and live in all ways righteous then I am an evangelist. It isn’t rocket science, it’s righteousness. Oh, Lord, but I think doing truth, justice and righteous can be harmful and difficult for me! Help me to take the blows like a running-back and push forward to honor You and make Your name known by my actions in truth, justice and righteousness. Amen.

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