August 6, 2007
The Masters Program
The Point of View - A Weekly Commentary by Bob Shank

Dear Marketplace Friend, 

    So, how's Summer going, for you? For me, it has been a great opportunity to reconnect with my family. Most of my year is spent flying on airplanes, sleeping in hotels, driving in rental cars... and connecting with people in Kingdom contexts, coast-to-coast (with The Master's Program) and around the world (with the Franklin Graham Festivals). The last couple of weeks, I've been up close and personal with my kids and my grandkids, on family vacation, and watching...
    I'm proud of my daughters. They're both home-schooling their kids (my five grandkiddos). To be clear, they get their academics at Calvary Christian School... but their significant schooling is happening under the watchful tutelage of their moms. How so?
    The cousins range from nine to two, but they're all in the same classroom of a fundamental life lesson: your choices produce behavior that leads to consequences. No act goes unnoticed; no violation remains unaddressed. This attitude/behavior business isn't recess; it's the essence of life...
    What a radical concept: attitudes result in behavior, and behavior leads to consequences. Sounds like "common sense," but - these days - common sense has become - increasingly - uncommon.
    The American press has been somewhat silent concerning a news bullet that hit the headlines last week in Australia, though it involved one of America's "royalty." Here's the direct quote: "Party princess Paris Hilton is $60 million out of pocket after her billionaire grandfather - appalled by her jail term for drunk-driving offenses - axed her inheritance. Family patriarch Barron Hilton was already embarrassed by his granddaughter's wild behavior - notably when her home sex video was leaked on the internet. But the 79-year-old considered her 23-day sentence last month the last straw. 'He was, and is, extremely embarrassed by how the Hilton name has been sullied by Paris,' says Jerry Oppenheimer, who wrote a biography of the clan called House Of Hilton. 'He now doesn't want to leave unearned wealth to his family.' Hilton senior, the only member of the family left with a sizable stake in the huge hotel chain, has let it be known that he intends to donate to charity the $2.4 billion he will gain from this month's sale of the company to private equity firm Blackstone. The money will go to the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, the charity set up in the name of the founder of the family business."
    Attitude: entitlement. Behavior: immorality, and lawlessness. Consequence: lost inheritance. If case studies are effective instructional tools, Paris just received word that she flunked the final exam...
    Let me give you some great news: what happened to Paris on earth will never happen to the adopted children of the Father in heaven. Peter celebrated that certainty when he read the key segments of God's estate plan, where you and I are mentioned. Listen in: "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade - kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God's power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith - of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire - may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls. (1 Peter 1:3-9).
    Key point: our salvation - and, adoption into God's family through faith in Jesus Christ - is not at risk based on our behavior. Rewards for service are another matter... but, the inheritance found in our salvation is guaranteed by the character of God, not by the faithfulness of our performance. Our inheritance is, for us, "unearned wealth" - and we'll receive it, payable at death, because of the goodness of God...

    Bob Shank



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