Friday, February 17, 2023

He Gets Us

Commercials are a big part of the Superbowl event. The audience is huge and so is the price tag. It cost seven million dollars for a 30 second ad. Spending that much money requires the advertisers’ best efforts and, so, we are treated to clever moments of entertainment.

These commercials are teased in advance and discussed the next day. They seem to take on a life of their own and some become legendary. Of note this year are two commercials behind the “He Get Us” campaign. These well-crafted, attention grabbers speak powerfully about the love of Christ.

As one might expect, they have drawn negative reaction both by people outside the faith and people who include themselves in the Christian faith family. The attacks are not against the content of the ads nor on its subject. They are “ad hominem” attacks on the humans behind the campaign.

Among the criticisms was the idea that the $14 million would have been better spent on alleviating poverty. Isn’t that the argument Judas made when a woman anointed Jesus with an expensive jar of perfume? (Mark 14:4-5)

Imagine what could have been done with the billions spent to put on the event. Tickets started at $5911! Now throw in the salaries of the players… and coaches… and announcers. The critics did not focus on that. I don’t think alleviating poverty was the issue on anybody’s mind.

I appreciate the campaign’s effort at cooling down the heated rhetoric displayed in contemporary political debate. Our civil discourse has become decidedly uncivil. We can do better and people who call upon the name of Jesus must lead the way to peace. Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the children of God.” (Matthew 5:9)

The ad campaign’s detractors don’t get it but “He gets us.”

Friday, February 03, 2023

Wise Up

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge,
but fools despise wisdom and instruction.
Proverbs 1:7

It's good to be around wise people. They always know what to do. Wise friends can save us money, time and effort but pride will often get in the way of our seeking advice. The Bible warn that, “Fools despise wisdom and instruction.”

Wisdom is different from knowledge. It is knowing the right thing to do at the right time in the right way. Wisdom is the ability to make good judgments based on what you have learned from experience and experience is what we get when we don't get what we want. It stands to reason that wisdom takes time and is earned through some mistakes along the way.

Part of the problem is that we don't value the timelessness of wisdom. We fail to appreciate the experience of the past. I've never heard anyone use the phrase “modern wisdom.” Yet, we think we are wiser than those who came before us. On the other hand, those who came before us, also, thought themselves wiser.

Another challenge is that science gains knowledge much faster than society gains wisdom. We have made such tremendous leaps in our understanding of chemistry and genetics that we can now play with the basic building blocks of life itself. However, just because we can do something doesn't mean we should.

Thankfully, we can ask God for wisdom. “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God.” (James 1:5)

Solomon asked God for wisdom and God was pleased. He said, “I will give you a wise and discerning heart, so that there will never have been anyone like you, nor will there ever be. Moreover, I will give you what you have not asked for—both wealth and honor—so that in your lifetime you will have no equal among kings. And if you walk in obedience to me and keep my decrees and commands as David your father did, I will give you a long life.” (1 Kings 3:9-14)

God's wisdom is different from what the world calls wisdom. “We preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness but to those who are called, both Jews & Greeks, Christ the power of God & the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, & the weakness of God is stronger than men.” (1 Corinthians 1:23-25)

The fear of God is, also, the end of wisdom. “If you receive my words and treasure up my commandments with you, making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding; if you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God.” (Proverbs 2:1-5)