This month, millions of wonderful people will watch George Bailey – alone, on the bridge – as he looks back and wonders if his decision about his life’s direction was wrong and not wonderful.
He’s only 38, but he’s given the best years of his life to the people of Bedford Falls as he operated the family’s Building & Loan. His arch-enemy – the scheming and ruthless banker Henry Potter – was always lurking in the shadows. George’s Uncle Billy is a scatterbrain; he loses the B&L’s bank deposit at Potter’s bank, driving George to the bridge. Potter’s brutal comment – “You’re worth more dead than alive” – makes his life insurance benefit a possible solution to the B&L’s shortfall. The bank examiner is coming to check the books: will he shut them down because they’re insolvent?
Would the world have been better off without George’s life work for the community at the Building & Loan? Maybe it is time to end it all and let his insurance proceeds cover Billy’s goof; lucky for George, Clarence – the apprentice angel – is there to help answer that question…
This month, millions of people will watch Mary of Nazareth – in a stable, at the manger – and see a doting mother with a child she knows will become famous. She heard it from an angel: “He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.”
Mary doesn’t end up on a bridge; instead, she finds herself in a crowd, at a public execution, with her adult son on a cross. He was supposed to be the long-awaited Messiah – with the promise of an eternal kingdom – but his public acclaim has turned to shame as he hangs naked between common criminals. Watching a divine plan unfold – without yet knowing the full story – the justice system of heaven recognizes that the Lamb of God is worth more dead than alive. Christmas – his birth – didn’t save anyone, but Easter – his death and resurrection – could save everyone.
From the bridge, Clarence is able to show George the alternative past, and how life would have been for Bedford Falls had he never grown up to serve the town. He sees what evil would have done without his intervention, and becomes convinced that his life had meaning.
From the cross, the Lord Jesus knew the past and future, and how life would have been for all humanity had he never come to offer himself as sin’s sacrifice. He knows what evil would have done without his intervention, and knows that his death had meaning.
I’ve been on the bridge the last few days. That’s not unusual; every year – during the last few days of December – I go to the bridge. Uncle Billy “lost” the Building & Loan’s capital; for 11 months every year, our TMP capital erodes by funding ministry without sufficient donations to cover the cost. Wonderful? This year, our shortfall was $350,000. As of today, about $150,000 has come in to restore the reserves…
What do I think about when I’m on the bridge? The question George wrestled with is always on my mind: was my decision to create The Master’s Program the right move? Would the world have been better off if we didn’t exist?
Haven’t you asked that question, for yourself? Doesn’t the Enemy look for opportunities to catch us all at our moments of self-evaluation and accuse us of failure? Potter is channeling the Enemy when he derides George: “You’re worth more dead than alive.” Is he right?
Since we started The Master’s Program in 1997, we’ve helped thousands of men and women increase their positive impact on people, with effects that stretch into Eternity. This weekly Point of View, our multiple programs – for men and women – that help them discover their unique Kingdom Calling; everything we do seeks to serve that end. We’re a non-profit ministry, and – for most of the year – we consume our reserves. Like George Bailey in the movie, we are rescued – every year – by the community we’ve served in the past who come alongside us to close the gap…
It’s a Wonderful Life, for sure: “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit – fruit that will last – and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.” (John 15:16). I know he chose us, and I know we’ve born fruit. We’re asking in his name… and we’re trusting that he will provide what we need, through friends like you.
If you could help us with the last $200,000, click here and see your options.
Thanks for being my Clarence,