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Fresh from the sermon cutting room floor

Not only do we live in a culture that has now almost deified children, (and by the way, when I criticize this aspect of our culture I do not mean to say that children are unimportant or do I mean to support any idea that children should be abused in any way,) but the culture around us has turned everything into a competition, even life itself and it starts in the first years of school.  This point was brought home to me again this week reading a commentary in the most recent Touchstone magazine.  We now have preschool graduation and kindergarten graduations.  Isn’t that cute?  But already the groundwork is being laid not just for achievement but for merely worldly achievements.  It’s certainly manifest at the end of life.  Take a look at the obituaries in the paper on any random day and do this, count up the number of achievements listed and the number of references to the lifelong faith of the deceased.  References to where the funeral service is being held don’t count.  Even for many Christians there is little thought of the obit being a statement of confession of faith.  We have to search to find any references at all to someone’s devotion to God made manifest in his or her love of family and neighbor.  From the looks of obits today, everyone is supposed to do Very Important Things, like acing a standardized test or winning a piano contest or publishing in Harvard Law or serving as president of this group or that one or being elected Speaker of the House for North Carolina.  Rarely is one eulogized for merely loving a spouse and children, and certainly not for bending his knees in prayer.[1]  Life is not a competition.  Jesus doesn’t care if you’re Speaker of the House for North Carolina; he cares that you’re faithful.  Want to know who’s greatest in the kingdom of heaven?  “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”


[1] I am greatly indebted to Anthony Esolen for this thought in his article in Touchstone, “Pupils Delighted.”  The rest of his article can be read at http://www.touchstonemag.com/archives/article.php?id=24-05-021-v

 

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