Friday, February 20, 2009

Obama Beats Jesus

As shocking as that declaration may be to some people, it is precisely the headline that appeared in news outlets recently. The full statement is: Obama beats Jesus as American ‘hero.’ The story is based upon the results of a new Harris poll asking citizens to name the person they admired enough to call their No. 1 hero. The 2,634 respondents spontaneously named the person for whom they had the highest regard.

In 2001 an identical poll was taken. The top two then were Jesus Christ and Martin Luther King. Obama had yet to make his appearance on the national scene.

For the record, this is not a political issue. I would be equally incensed if the poll had found that any other politician had replaced Jesus in the top spot.

As Christians, we regard Jesus as the promised Messiah, the Son of God who came to save His people from their sins. He certainly deserves higher status than merely being considered a “hero.” But the fact that a poll finds that more Americans have a greater regard for Barak Obama than Jesus Christ is not insignificant.

Jesus is the only person who ever fully achieved His billing as a great man and the Savior of the world. None who believe in Him will ever be disappointed. In contrast, President Obama’s sky-high approval numbers have already begun a significant decline. He cannot live up to the messianic aura that has surrounded his candidacy and early presidency. He is only human; he will make mistakes; he will disappoint.

We must resist the mass frenzy that places any mere human on too exalted a pedestal. We are called to pray for our civil leaders, but we are commanded to worship Jesus Christ.

A poll is simply a tool to gauge public opinion. In this case, the Harris poll reveals an ominous trend that will lead to regret and disillusionment.

Monday, February 9, 2009

A Positive Lesson from MLB

With Super Bowl XLIII now history, some us look forward to the start of Major League Baseball. Unfortunately, most of the news about MLB recently has been bad. Some of the game’s biggest stars have become tainted with allegations of steroid use. But let me wash away those sordid stories with one of great inspiration and instruction.

Back in the mid 80s Tim Burke started pitching for the Montreal Expos. Burke set a National League record with 78 appearances in his rookie year in 1985 and won his first eight major league decisions. By 1987 he became the leader of the Expos’ bullpen, going 7-0, with 18 saves and an outstanding ERA of 1.19. He was voted to the NL all-star team in 1989 when he saved 28 games and went 9-3 for the season.

When Tim and his wife discovered that they were unable to have children, after much prayer, they decided to adopt four, special-needs children: two from Korea, one from Vietnam, and one from Guatemala.

As a consequence of his growing family, after considerable prayer and soul-searching, Tim made what many considered an unbelievable decision. He decided to walk away from his baseball career. You see, he had discovered that the travel involved in professional baseball significantly hampered his ability to fulfill his roles as husband and father.

When he left the stadium for the last time, reporters asked why he was retiring. “Baseball is going to do just fine without me,” he said. “It’s not going to miss a beat. But I’m the only father my children have. I’m the only husband my wife has. And they need me a lot more than baseball does.”

Tim Burke’s decision had eternal consequences. He chose to honor His God-given responsibilities and forsake a career that offered wealth and fame, but at the expense of his family. Burke is thus a powerful role model for today’s conflicted world.