"Man's sin is his issue. When we stray away from this message to prioritize other concerns such as promoting better health, robust living, financial prosperity, and a stunning social network, we begin to compete with philosophies and personal convictions on the wrong basis."
Aaron Hernandez, like successful public figures from other industries of influence, seemingly has the ideal life. His ideal life may appeal to pop culture demographics; however, there is an Aaron Hernandez for every demographic and culture globally. Though we know better as Christians, we still tend to idealize their quality of life and think the least of any hardships they may claim to face.
In the past, I was careful to desire “only” their financial means, while still allowing my envy of their lives to cast a shadow, or thick grey film upon my entire life. This includes my life as a Christian – the recipient of grace through the death burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Somehow, understanding spiritual mysteries, having access to mercy and help in the time of trouble, operating in the endowment of power and gifts by the Holy Spirit, and being heir to the promise of eternal life with Christ all paled in comparison to a powerful physique, worldly renown, influence, and long stacks of cash.
Left unchecked, covetousness leads to a diminished potency in the communication of the Gospel as it is being carried by ministers who half heartedly witness to people whom they resent and feel are ultimately better off than themselves. We are not as funny, not as socially accepted, not born leaders, not as charismatic, and not as disciplined. You pick. But we must be encouraged that there is no better place to be than in right standing with God. Our God is awesome; and not only is Heaven and Hell real but Heaven is a preferred destination!
These tenants of the Gospel are what everyone needs. The problems of the renowned and wealthy are just as real as ours and the Gospel is just as able to heal and deliver them as it is you and I. Eternal life is my lively hope born of my faith in Christ as Redeemer. Some may never believe as I do. To them I say, "We will see in the end, but I am confident in my decision." If we have no confidence in the Word, we will have confidence in human reason, human ability, human appetite, and the trappings of the world’s system. All these things have limits in their scope and function, and are temporal even when operating at optimum capacity.
Looking through a temporal lens can lead to not sharing the Gospel with friends and acquaintances who seem to have everything together. Some of us wait until we can match or meet others in social and economic standing before we witness to them as "equals." Or we build a reverse classism resentment that keeps us from sharing the Gospel reasoning that there is no chance they would hear Christ through us and trust in Him.
People will or won't receive the Gospel, though God himself desires that they do for a number of reasons. Familiarity and prejudice toward the messengers are just two reasons. Let’s intend not to let our preconceived notions about our got-it-together friends and family members be among the reasons. Man's sin is his issue. When we stray away from this message to prioritize other concerns such as promoting better health, robust living, financial prosperity, and a stunning social network, we begin to compete with philosophies and personal convictions on the wrong basis.
I Timothy 4:8-9 (NASB) reads, “for bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. It is a trustworthy statement deserving full acceptance.” Here profitable does not mean financial gain only, but instead the Greek word ōphelimos (o-fel'-ee-mos) which means advantageous. So godliness will lead to a better life journey but the first function of salvation and godliness is to repair the breach in the relationship between God and man caused by sin. Man's sin separates him from a holy God regardless of his station in life.
The Bible teaches us that great or small, all come under the category of sinner and thus are in need of salvation (Romans 3:23-24). People’s station in life does not qualify them for salvation (Matthew 3:1-10; Matthew 19:16-26). As believers, the Gospel is our only product and sharing it is the family business. Salvation, however, is all God’s matter. So when we live and share the Gospel message, we are working in the family business. It is God who is responsible for piercing hardened hearts through the unseen barriers hiding behind polite nods and irate rebuffs. Behind the spiritual and physical attacks, God draws and God saves.
Pray for Mr. Hernandez that God’s message reaches him via His messengers to the Glory of God. Lord, give us courage and may Your grace heal us of resentment so we may boldly declare your Gospel and have an answer for the hope that lies within us – even when we are witnessing to the seemingly “got it together.” Amen.
How would you respond if a public figure asked you about the Gospel?