I started kindergarten in the fall of 1959; therefore, I spent most of my school years growing up in 1960’s America. I remember learning about a story called the “Tortoise and the Hare,” or the “turtle and the rabbit” if this is the way you remember it. The story is about a race between them. The obvious winner of the race would have been the speedy rabbit. What could a turtle do to win a race with a rabbit? Well, he did not have to come up with a strategy. The rabbit lost the race to the turtle. The reason I said the rabbit lost the race, rather than the turtle won the race, is because the rabbit caused his own defeat. Through overconfidence, the rabbit fooled around and got preoccupied, as the turtle just continued slowly, but surely, to his goal.
The moral of the story teaches the power of character over gifts or personal ability. Character will win the race in the end! This lesson was reinforcement in what I learned at Sunday school. The Bible teaches the power of perseverance and faith. Faith is the key to perseverance because it keeps us focused when the situation looks impossible. Faith was not seen as an end to itself, but a gift from God; one that gives us hope to add to our perseverance in times of stress and difficulty. Amazingly enough, these lessons were conveyed through my favorite television shows as well. Whether the show was a comedy or a drama, the networks understood they had a responsibility to uphold the character traits that made our nation great. This certainly was the lesson our nation learned through the Great Depression of the 1930’s, and the great war of the 1940’s. We were a society with focus and the future looked bright! Our new president in January of 1961 said, “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” The press called these the years of Camelot!
How Did We Fall so Fast?
As the 1960’s unfolded, there was a counter-culture movement that espoused personal freedom from all cultural and societal barriers, hindering personal fulfillment and desires. This revolution changed us in more ways than we understood, or even understand in our day. From the demands of the counter-culture, the first change in direction came from the media. Television, Hollywood and the media, in general, became the voice for this counter-culture change. The next pillar to fall was the education system, influenced by the new generation. The obvious end result is a government that caters to the people’s desire, and leadership in every facet of society doing the same.
Success was seen as how well you responded to the people, not how well you could lead the people. Unfortunately, as a Christian leader, I must report that the church has succumbed to culture, rather than being the light and salt we were in the early days of American history. A recent movie release, “The Big Short,” talks about our recent economic crisis in 2007-2009. Hollywood, of course, emphasizes the sins of Wall Street and the Big Banks who promoted irresponsible behavior in the people. Why did they promote irresponsible spending and investment to create this crisis? I believe it is because they are a part of the bigger system of influence pushing our society in the wrong direction. In a recent interview with Michael Burry, who saw what was coming, he was asked if he thought the laws to control the big banks and Wall Street were adequate to solve the problem. He said the problem was much bigger; the big question is, “Why are people are so easily motivated to irrational and irresponsible behavior?”
What Will the Revolution Look Like?
We need a people revolution! I see signs in the news when I hear the overwhelming response of voters wanting to endorse outsiders; not the Washington elite. The church must grab this desperation and provide a solution. Today, our political, economic, and media world are caught in the web of our preoccupation on satisfying people’s personal desires. In Washington, they are spending money without creating the income to support it. The Federal Reserve is fulfilling a mandate from Washington that makes them responsible for keeping people from suffering the pain of economic cycles. The educational and media outlets are giving people what they want, without considering what people need.
We need leadership with a vision! This vision cannot be about satisfying the cravings of people, but providing the opportunity for betterment through proper principles. Our country has always been the envy of the world for our freedom, but our freedom was nurtured through responsible living. I am not looking for this leadership to come from the world system. I believe it is time for the people of God to arise and be the head and not the tail, above and not beneath. We cannot fight the world; we can only advance the Kingdom that will be a light to the world. We must start by hearing a different voice than the one the world is hearing. It is time for the church to hear the admonition of the Apostle John in the Revelation, “Let him who has an ear to hear, let him hear what the Spirit is speaking to the church.” The society needs us to hear from God; it needs us to declare and demonstrate God’s word to the world.
“You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:14-16)
The greatest revolution of 2016 will be character over gifts, substance over style! Remember, you are the light of the world. Let your light shine brightly, without compromise, and let’s be the solution to our ailing world.