Ruth Balloon finished her shift at Roma Boots in Dallas last week, then she happened to check her bank account. It turned out, she had an extra $37,000,000. She called her husband, who called the bank, who explained that it was a clerical error and took back the money.
“I was a millionaire, I have a screen shot of it so I can say that now,” said Balloon. “It’s quite a story.” She said there was no way she was going to keep the money, but she did think about how she could have spent it. “First I was going to do 10% tithing. Then I was going to donate some money and then I would have invested in real estate,” she explained.
The world would be a better place if Ruth Balloon were actually a millionaire. Football star Kahlil Mack is actually a millionaire, having signed a $141 million contract with the Chicago Bears last year. And he is actually making the world a better place by paying off all the holiday layaway accounts at a Walmart in Fort Pierce, Florida, his hometown.
Another story on the same theme: Dave McAdams is a youth pastor, baseball coach, and owner with his wife of a coffee house in Oak Grove, Oregon. He is also dying of cancer. Last Wednesday, the owner of a nearby coffee shop closed her store for a day and ran theirs.
“I knew that I had to do something to help them keep their business afloat so that Tina could be with Dave,” said Pixie Adams, owner of Moonlight Coffeehouse. “So, I decided to take over their shop and throw all of the support I could through my business and my community their way.”
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if someone were willing and able to help us with all our problems in whatever way is best for us?
Remembering my father
My father died forty years ago yesterday.
For the first number of years, the anniversary of Dad’s death brought only pain and grief, that tightening of the throat and chest that washes over you and brings it all back like it was yesterday. But with the passage of time, perspective has enabled me to remember the good as well as the hard.
Yesterday, I found myself thinking about all the ways my father loved our family and provided for us. I thought about fishing trips together and vacations and campouts. I always knew he loved me and that he would do all he could do to provide for us.
My father was relevant to every dimension of my life, every day of my life. When he died, all of that changed. Now he is relevant as a memory, a figure of the past whose influence continues but who obviously has no interaction with my life today.
Unfortunately, this is how some see our heavenly Father’s relevance to our secularized culture. For them, God is an outdated concept, a superstition left over from less scientific times.
For others, God is a benefactor like Khalil Mack or Pixie Adams, someone who helps us with our problems from time to time but bears little transformative relevance to our decisions and society.
What we need is to see our Father as he is, in all his power and holiness. When we do, his relevance to our lives and culture will be both obvious and urgent.
Praying at Drag Queen Story Hour
I am reading 1 Chronicles these days and found a statement I had never noticed before. David wanted to build a temple for God, but the Lord sent word through the prophet Nathan that David’s son would build such an edifice instead. The Lord then offered David his assurance that the king’s line would be blessed greatly.
Here was David’s response to such grace: “Therefore your servant has found courage to pray before you” (1 Chronicles 17:25). David was so awed by God that he needed courage to enter his presence even in gratitude for his blessing.
Does our culture need such courage to pray to God as we understand him today? Do you?
A pharmacist who is also a local pastor is being sued because he would not provide an abortion pill to a customer due to his opposition to abortion. Another pastor is facing prosecution by the city of Spokane, Washington, after he attempted to enter a public library. He wanted to pray quietly for children attending a Drag Queen Story Hour as they heard a crossdressing person read books about sexuality.
A common claim in our culture is that we must keep our religious beliefs to ourselves. If our culture saw the God of the universe as he truly is, the fallacy of such a claim would be transparent.
“God’s light is more real than all the darkness”
The angels of Christmas announced “good news of great joy that will be for all the people” (Luke 2:10). Henri Nouwen commented: “Joy does not come from positive predictions about the state of the world. It does not depend on the ups and downs of the circumstances of our lives. Joy is based on the spiritual knowledge that, while the world in which we live is shrouded in darkness, God has overcome the world. . . .
“The surprise is not that, unexpectedly, things turn out better than expected. No, the real surprise is that God’s light is more real than all the darkness, that God’s truth is more powerful than all human lies, that God’s love is stronger than death.”
Your Father is the king of the universe. His reign is relevant to every dimension of your life and brings joy to all who make him their king with humble awe and grateful obedience.
Will “all the people” see the “great joy” of Christ in your life today?