Hobby Lobby founders show Christians how to respond to cultural animosity

Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Site Search
Give

The Daily Article

Hobby Lobby founders show Christians how to respond to cultural animosity

February 15, 2024 -

A stylized image of Jesus bending down and pouring water from a jar into a bowl in preparation to wash feet. The "He Gets Us" campaign, funded by Hobby Lobby's Green family, that aired during Super Bowl LVIII showed Christians washing others' feet. By Marina/stock.adobe.com

A stylized image of Jesus bending down and pouring water from a jar into a bowl in preparation to wash feet. The "He Gets Us" campaign, funded by Hobby Lobby's Green family, that aired during Super Bowl LVIII showed Christians washing others' feet. By Marina/stock.adobe.com

A stylized image of Jesus bending down and pouring water from a jar into a bowl in preparation to wash feet. The "He Gets Us" campaign, funded by Hobby Lobby's Green family, that aired during Super Bowl LVIII showed Christians washing others' feet. By Marina/stock.adobe.com

This Salon headline caught my eye: “Hobby Lobby-funded Jesus Super Bowl ads can’t hide the hate that fuels the Christian right.” The article blasted the “He Gets Us” campaign as a “bait-and-switch, trying to lure unchurched people in with a phony message of love and acceptance, only to push them into joining up with the MAGA movement.”

The writer notes that the “He Gets Us” campaign is partly funded by the Green family and claims that “their life mission, besides getting rich by selling cheap tchotchkes, is to push their brand of far-right Christianity on the country.” The writer then uses more hateful rhetoric as she continues to accuse the family of hatred.

I cannot imagine that she has actually met the Green family. If she did, she would have to know that they are the furthest thing from a hateful threat to our country.

A few years ago, I was privileged to spend some time with them before an event in Washington, DC, at which we both spoke. They were remarkably gracious, humble, and caring. Their extreme generosity has touched millions of lives around the world with compassion and grace.

The night before we met, one of our team members happened to be in our hotel lobby when David Green, the founder of Hobby Lobby, checked in. The receptionist noticed his name tag and asked, “Do you work for Hobby Lobby?”

He smiled and answered, “Yes.”

You are called to this cultural moment

Does seeing such animosity against a family that holds historic, orthodox Christian beliefs feel discouraging to you? In the face of such rising threats to our faith and our future, do you sometimes feel overwhelmed and wonder if you can make a difference that matters?

My wife and I were discussing this issue yesterday and she noted: We are not responsible for changing the world, only our part of it. We may not be able to impact the “culture,” but we can impact the lives we influence. We are not personally accountable for the direction of our nation, but we are personally accountable for the way we relate to the people we meet today.

God called me into this ministry to speak truth to culture. But while I can write words that will be read by a large audience (for which I am daily humbled and grateful), you can actually live biblical truth in ways that make you the salt and light your part of our world desperately needs.

In fact, God has entrusted to you capacities and influence he has given no one else. He called you to both the place where you live and the time in which you live. If he couldn’t use you in this cultural moment, you wouldn’t be living in this cultural moment. He didn’t commission you to fail—he commissioned you to advance his kingdom through your intercession and influence.

What are some practical ways to be cultural missionaries today?

One: Expect opposition from those who oppose our Lord.

As the “father of lies” (John 8:44), Satan “has blinded the minds of the unbelievers” (2 Corinthians 4:4). Consequently, to quote my wife again, we should expect lost people to act like lost people. You and I did the same before we experienced the transforming love and grace of God.

Jesus was blunt: “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you” (John 15:18). When we suffer for our Savior, we can choose the example of our spiritual ancestors who, when they were beaten for their faith, “left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name” (Acts 5:41).

Two: Treat others as Christ treats us.

You and I are no better than those who have not yet experienced the grace of God’s love. Thus, following the example of Jesus, we should “pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:44), forgiving them as we have been forgiven (Colossians 3:13).

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. observed:

Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.

Three: Share the grace we have received.

When we truly experience God’s love, we cannot be the same. As Pope St. Clement I (AD 35–99) wrote to the Corinthians:

If we review the various ages of history, we will see that in every generation the Lord has offered the opportunity of repentance to any who were willing to turn to him. When Noah preached God’s message of repentance, all who listened to him were saved. Jonah told the Ninevites they were going to be destroyed, but when they repented, their prayers gained God’s forgiveness for their sins, and they were saved, even though they were not God’s people.

Accordingly,

We should obey his sovereign and glorious will and prayerfully entreat his mercy and kindness. We should be suppliant before him and turn to his compassion, rejecting empty works and quarrelling and jealousy which only lead to death.

And we should share the gifts of grace we have received, remembering Jesus’ promise:

“It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35).

Will you be “blessed” today?

Thursday news to know

Quote for the day

“Witnessing is the deep-seated conviction that the greatest favor I can do for others is to introduce them to Jesus Christ.” —Paul Little

What did you think of this article?

If what you’ve just read inspired, challenged, or encouraged you today, or if you have further questions or general feedback, please share your thoughts with us.

Name(Required)
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Denison Forum
17304 Preston Rd, Suite 1060
Dallas, TX 75252-5618
[email protected]
214-705-3710


To donate by check, mail to:

Denison Ministries
PO Box 226903
Dallas, TX 75222-6903