Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Crime and Punisment--A Contemporary Version

His life is a real life commentary of Proverbs 1:10-19. This passage warns young men to keep away from bad company, especially people who plot violence against others. The first two verses rather summarize the whole:
"My son, if sinners entice you,
do not consent.
If they say, Come with us, let us lie in wait for blood;
let us ambush the innocent without reason; (Proverbs 1:10-11, ESV)."
He was a handsome young man. His good looks and talents had taken him to act on TV serials though he didn't have a career as an actor. He had a good job as a sales manager in a reputed firm.
Everything turned around when his friends decided to take revenge on another person. His friend was offended by this man and they all decided to support their friend who was insulted. Though they probably did not plan it that way their opponent died in the attack.
Then there was arrest, imprisonment, trial, appeals.... The legal juggernaut started rolling but it kept rolling for long years. Finally, it stopped as many of the gang including this young man was acquitted by a higher court. But by the time, it had crushed under its wheels their reputation, their jobs and lot of money.
He had already lost his job during the trials. No one was willing to employ a person once implicated in a crime though he was later exonerated by courts.
He ended up as a cab-driver to provide for his family.
After many years, he invested all his meagre savings for an employment visa in a foreign country and air tickets with the hope of rebooting his life. On the third day of his arrival in that country, he died of a massive heart attack at age 32! He was leaving behind a young wife and two small helpless kids.
The ruin began with a wrong decision, taken under peer pressure, the pressure of bad company. Wisdom is to avoid such company and such counsel. The Bible is not all about life after death, but it also helps us to live our lives here on earth in a meaningful way.
You may like to read rest of the Book of Proverbs and the rest of the Bible as well. It is full of wisdom for us today.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

The "how" and "what" of life.

What we live our lives for rather than how we lived must have supreme importance. Yes, this statement needs explanation.
Many times the natural tendency is to focus on the standard of our lives than the very purpose for which we live. We worry too much about our dress, food and dwellings. That explains why we buy expensive clothes, like to dine in the best restaurants and keep modifying our houses and buy more gadgets. Dressing in a manner suitable for the job is sometimes forced on us by our employers. We don't think about the effect of food on our performance when we eat, we eat for pleasure mostly.
The goal of life is not the standard of life itself. Quality of life should not be confused with the standard of life. They are diffferent. Quality of life is not decided by the standard of life. However, standard of life should serve the pupose and enhance the quality of life.
I heard this story about Mother Teresa years ago. I am not able to verify the historical facts but even if it is a parable someone made up it has a point. Pope presented Mother Teresa with an expensive car on his visit to Kolkotta. Mother Teresa just waited for the Pope to leave India to auction it out. She never entered that car but used the proceeds from the auction to support her seervice to the poor.
Now, what if she used the car for her work? She could have moved around the slums of Kolkotta in her luxury car. She didn't buy it, he did not covet, it was just a present from a well intentioned person who is wiser than her.
However, life with that car would be a great contradiction for Mother Teresa. It would contradict with the message of simplicity and love that she symbolised. That car would create a gap of light years' length between her and the people who she loved. Her life-style and service will be out of sync with each other. In other words, the standard of her life with that car will destroy the very purpose for which she lived.
So, it comes as a challenge to us to prioritize--how we live and what live for. What we live for must not only have top priority but our lifestyle should be subordinate to it.

Friday, January 08, 2016

Taste and See!

As you walk past the aisles of Duty-Free shops in airports, the sales girls plead to try the new perfume that has just arrived in the shop. Sniff and decide they suggest. At the entrance of the grocery shop is a small counter where sales persons offer you a new type of tea free though in tiny cups. Taste and see if it is better than the teas that you have tasted so far.
Most of the time our choices are not based on our primary experience but hearsay and experiences of others. For example, most of the time our decisions are based on what others suggest or what the brand ambassadors promote. Our decisions should not be based on hearsay but on experience. That applies to Christian faith as well.
The psalmist who sang 'Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good' (Psalms 34:8) was recommending his faith in God. However, his invitation is not to follow his faith blindly but to experience God first before committing. There is some place for the logic 'It works for others so it must work for me too.' However, it should not be based on such blind trust but we should experience God on a one-to-one level. First-hand experience of God is important.

Turn dire circumstances for the glory of God

The way we face the dire circumstances in our life could lead to the wider glory of God. The story of Daniel illustrates that point well. ...