Rod Blagojevich is now Inmate No. 40892-424. The former Illinois governor joins Jeff Skilling, former CEO and president of Enron, as prisoners of the Englewood Federal Correctional Institution in Colorado. Blagojevich will work a menial job, possibly cleaning bathrooms or doing landscape work. His starting salary: 12 cents an hour.
Contrast his story with J. K. Rowling, another celebrity in today’s news. The Harry Potter author has fallen from the ranks of the world’s billionaires due to her personal benevolence. While taxes in Great Britain contributed to her reduced fortune, the larger reason for her diminished wealth is that she gave away more than $160 million last year. The former single mother on welfare has a special passion for other single mothers and created a foundation on their behalf.
From fiction to sports: last Tuesday night, it was my privilege to talk with Don Carter. The Dallas icon was the founding owner of the Dallas Mavericks and remains one of the most popular figures in our city. We were discussing the importance of living on purpose when he made a statement so simple and profound that I wrote it down and asked his permission to quote him: “If you only work for money, you’ll never have enough.” The only way to live well is to live for a purpose larger than ourselves.
Yesterday it was my great privilege to speak at Bill Robertson’s memorial service. Bill was chairman of the pastor search committee that brought our family to Atlanta in 1994, and remained my friend and encourager across the years since. Dan Hayes, founder of Atlanta Community Ministries and one of the most effective speakers and evangelists I’ve ever known, spoke at the service as well. Dan quoted Anne Lamott: “We all know we’re going to die; what’s important is the kind of men and women we are in the face of this.” Bill found and fulfilled his Father’s purpose for his life with great dignity and godly passion.
Today’s discussion is especially significant for me this morning, because our son Ryan begins radiation treatments on Monday. His cancer surgery was successful, but radiation is necessary to eradicate the remaining malignancy and prevent its recurrence. He will be treated five days a week for six weeks. While his oncologists are very optimistic, I wish his radiation was over yesterday.
Lately, however, I have sensed that God wants me to look at these weeks differently. While I would rather avoid them, he plans to redeem them. He wants to use this experience to mold our family into the image of Christ (Romans 8:29) and intends the testing of our faith to produce the perseverance that will make us mature and complete (James 1:3-4). He was Ryan’s Father before I was. He loves my son more than I can. Why would I think that he would not use these days for great significance?
What challenge is he waiting to redeem in your life today?