Is it Better to be a Jock or a Nerd?
In answer to the eternal question "Is it better to be a jock or a nerd?" I submit the following: Michael Jordan in his career earned over $300,000 a game: $10,000 a minute.
He earned $40 million in endorsements in his last years of playing, that’s $178,100 a day
Assuming he slept 7 hours a night, he made $52,000 every night while visions of sugarplums dance in his head.
If he went to see a movie, it cost him $7.00, but he made $18,550 while he was there.
He made $7,415/hr more than minimum wage.
He made $3,710 while watching each episode of Friends.
If he wanted to save up for a new Acura NSX ($90,000) it would take him a whole 12 hours.
If someone were to hand him his salary and endorsement money, they would have to do it at the rate of $2.00 every second.
If you were given a tenth of a penny for every dollar he made, you'd be living comfortably at $65,000 a year.
Every year of his career he made more than twice as much as all of our past presidents for all of their terms combined. Amazing isn't it? But, Jordan will have to save 100% of his income for 270 years to have a net worth equivalent to that of Bill Gates, CEO of Microsoft. NERDS RULE!!!
Let me make an observation. Michael Jordon and Bill Gates are blessed by God! They are abundantly and thoroughly blessed. The evidence of such wealth must mean they have found pleasure in the sight of God and God is blessing them. It simply couldn’t mean anything else.
In contrast I have a friend who came home and found his wife in the midst of a fatal asthma attack. She died leaving him with three boys under the age of six years old. Let me make the observation, this friend of mine was cursed by God. The evidence of such tragedy could only mean he found displeasure in the sight of God and God cursed him. It simply couldn’t mean anything else.
Is there any one reading this that would like to stand up and say, “That’s a bunch of bull!” If you aren’t willing to say it, I will. BULL! The idea that when things are going well you must be pleasing God, and when things are going bad you are displeasing is a thought and a theology born at the “gates of hell”, perpetuated by a “consumer driven American society” that has inundated us with the idea that more is better, bigger is best and faster is more favorable. A society that has taught us from mother’s knee to our death bed if you do the right things we will be rewarded.
I listened to an evangelist at the Fargodome a number of years ago tell twenty-thousand young people that if they would give their lives to Jesus they would be guaranteed a attractive spouse and a good career. Really! Theologians call this kind of thinking “prosperity theology.” I have another name for it. Bulls#%**! I can say with assurance this thought has absolutely nothing to do with Christianity. Let me give you two examples of how prevalent this idea is, even in the church.
Idea #1: “I should follow Christ and there will be a divine worldly payoff.”
If I follow Christ I will live a long and happy life. One defined by a full belly, a long and marvelous career, 2.2 children, a well-trained dog, and a dutiful spouse. Then at life’s end you will slip into the gently by and by and things will really get good. You cannot imagine how much I would love to tell you that and have it be true. But there are facts I simply cannot ignore.
Fact One: The friend I had whose came home to a wife in a fatal asthma attack is and was at the time one of the finest pastors I have ever known. Fact Two: Statistically, well over half of all the children who died in the eighties and nineties on the continent of Africa were Christian. Fact Three: Really rotten things happen to really good people.
Ponder the biblical evidence. Paul, the greatest of all the New Testament Christians dies in prison in Rome. Peter is crucified upside down. Stephen is stoned to death. John dies on the Island of Patmos in exile. And through the ages the list has grown and grown.
Jesus said, Luke 9:23 "If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.” Cross! Say it with me. Cross! Not silver spoon! CROSS. Christianity does not change the circumstances of our life it changes us. It breaks into our private ego-centric, little lives and introduces us to a purpose and a privilege greater than ourselves. Christianity does not say, “Great I’m glad you are following Jesus here is you silver spoon. It says “great, here is your burden, here is the care of your neighbor, here is seven hundred soldiers in Iraq – make sure they get home safely, here is the same sacrificial love that killed your founder, and here is your cross.”
Idea #2: “I should follow Christ to avoid punishment for my sin.”
Although it is true to follow Christ is to have our sins washed away, it is and always will be poor motivation. It is to say, “I love my wife because if I don’t she will beat the heck out of me.” That just don’t cut mustard for long.
In June, I will be married to Bev for twenty-four years. Botabeem botaboom! Wow! Twenty-four years. Let me tell you why I love her so much. Oops! I can’t. You see there is no way to put into words those things that are intimately knitted into your soul, over time. It’s impossible! I couldn’t possibly explain to you how even in Iraq, at war, she is as close to me as if we were sitting on the sofa together. I, the wordsmith, have no words. It simply is the truth. If I could not love her, I could not be who I have become, who God has made me. So, I must love her.
It is the same with God. If I could not love Jesus, I could not be who I have become, who he has made me to be. So, I must love him. When the disciples learned this they could not be quieted. Jesus said about them, I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”
The idea of punishment has no place in the mind and heart of a Christian at all. God has taken your sin, your punishment, your shame and has cast it as far as the east is from the west. Though your sins be as scarlet, you are white as snow.
Final Answer: So, if it isn’t for payoff, or the avoidance of punishment why be a Christian at all? It is the million dollar question. Why do 110 million Americans get out of bed on Sunday morning drag themselves to worship? Why should you belong to a church, give money to a church, or even bother with church?
Or, to make things more specific why should you care about the burdens of someone else? Why should you pick up the burdens of the world? Why should I go to bible study, memorize scripture, teach Sunday school, or one of the many other things that can be done.
Well don’t do them because you have to. Do them because you get to. I get to be included in the purposes of God. I get to be part of the economy of God. I get to be used by God to make the world a better place for myself, my children, my spouse and my neighbor. I get to be involved in God reconciling the world. I am an insider in an outsider world. I have a place. I am blessed.