December 3, 2012
Let’s get this straight: you did build that.
It’s been a month since the elections, so we’ve moved on from politics, but we never move on from philosophy. In politics, it’s always about candidates; in philosophy, it’s always about ideas. Candidates come and go, but ideas have a stickiness about them that keeps them around…
Leadership is always about initiative: people who talk about the way things should be – and, do nothing – are not leaders. Leaders conceive the future differently; they see the possibility of something coming to life, changing the world in some positive manner… and then conceive the means by which their vision can become reality. Their dreams germinate strategies that give directions to their words and actions; their momentum engages partnerships and participation that accelerate the emergence of their something-from-nothing creation.
When the moment comes that the ribbon is cut and the completion is celebrated, the people who worked with the leader to see the fantasy become tangible are rightly applauded. Together – under the auspices of the leader – they see yet another demonstration of their made-in-the-image-of-God nature.
When God inspired the authorship of His Word – the Bible – He introduced Himself by revisiting an entry from his work calendar: “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). When your title is “Creator,” your work day involves “creation.” Another day at work… When you step back and admire the stars tonight, recognize the reality: He did build that.
God is deeply interested in His creation… and, He’s intimately involved in what His creation is doing. In fact, this long-term commitment is captured in sage advice offered to God’s people by Moses, just before his death: “You will again obey the LORD and follow all his commands I am giving you today. Then the LORD your God will make you most prosperous in all the work of your hands and in the fruit of your womb, the young of your livestock and the crops of your land. The LORD will again delight in you and make you prosperous, just as he delighted in your fathers, if you obey the LORD your God and keep his commands and decrees that are written in this Book of the Law and turn to the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul. Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach.” (Deuteronomy 30:8-10)
When he opens with “you will again…,” he is recognizing that the Jews would not have a perfect record in every generation regarding their obedience to God’s directions. When they were obedient, God blessed them. When they became belligerent, He withdrew His blessing. (Note a Bible factoid: if you’re not under God’s blessing, you are under a curse. To be cursed is to live in a fallen world without the blessing of God.) When a society’s away-from-God activities remove His blessing… they always have the option before them to return to the place where He can – and, will – bless them.
Two key, foundational, philosophical realities: He did build that… and so did you. “You may say to yourself, ‘My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.’ But remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your forefathers, as it is today.” (Deuteronomy 8:17-18)
God built us – you, and me – and we build what we build in life, with the abilities sourced in Him. When we do it His way, we have a blessed life: God participates – actively – in our efforts. When we do it any way other than His, He steps back and lets us go solo… and we experience the Curse. Adam and Eve were the first to veer off course; the deviation continues today…
I still sing “God, Bless America,” but I know He’s waiting on us – as a nation – to return. While we’re waiting on America, I will live by His commandments and experience His blessing. Let’s do it together…