From Zilch to Zero

zilchAfter watching the evening news, I wonder what the prophet Jeremiah would say about the world in which we live?  In his own day, he summarized the condition of mankind by saying the heart of man was full of deceit and wickedness.  I think the news confirms the prophet’s prognosis.

Like Jeremiah, Saint Augustine voiced his concerns regarding the plight of mankind.  Even though he was a theologian, and not a heart doctor, he was concerned with healthy hearts.  He thought a vibrant heart would manifest itself when a person showed love for:

  • the right thing
  • in the right degree
  • in the right way
  • with the right kind of love

Augustine’s focus on the importance of love may have come from his study of the Apostle Paul, who said:  “If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing (1 Corinthians 13:2).”

If your life is void of any expression of love, you have a zilch to zero chance of doing “the right thing, in the right degree in the right way, with the right kind of love.”

The “right kind of love,” is a genuine love of obedience: “Everyone who really believes that Jesus is the Christ proves himself one of God’s family. The man who loves the Father cannot help loving the Father’s own Son. The test of the genuineness of our love for God’s family lies in this question—do we love God himself and do we obey his commands? For loving God means obeying his commands, and these commands of his are not burdensome, for God’s “heredity” within us will always conquer the world outside us. In fact, this faith of ours is the only way in which the world has been conquered. For who could ever be said to conquer the world, in the true sense, except the man who really believes that Jesus is God’s Son (I John 5:1-5)?”

Have you gone from zilch to zero, or are you a conquering hero?  The difference is the capacity to love.

Hero Chris Mintz and the Oregon Shooting

umpqua10By now you’ve probably heard of the shootings at Umpqua Community College in Oregon, but there are a few details of this incident that you may have not heard.   Evidence indicates that the gunman had an anti-Christian bias. Witnesses reported the gunman asked his victims about their faith. If they confessed to being Christians, he shot them in the head. Those who didn’t answer were shot in the leg.mintz

One victim, Chris Mintz, was shot multiple times.  In a heroic effort to eliminate the threat to fellow students, this Army veteran stepped into harm’s way and charged the shooter.  Even though he was shot in the upper back, left hand, abdomen, and both legs, Mintz survived.

While lying on the floor, Mintz said:  “It’s my son’s birthday today,” and the gunman shot him again.

Whenever you hear another news report about this incident, I encourage you to do three things:

  1. Remember to pray for the full and complete recovery of Chris Mintz and the other victims.
  2. Take a moment to pray for the grieving families of those who died.
  3. Reflect on the words of Romans 8:

Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ’s love for us? There is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins listed in Scripture: “They kill us in cold blood because they hate you. We’re sitting ducks; they pick us off one by one.”

None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us. I’m absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us. ~Romans 8 (The Message)