Giving Thanks – Gospel 316 Strong

With the Boston Red Sox winning the World Series and subsequent honoring of those fallen and injured by the horrific bombing that took place at the finish line of the Boston Marathon the timing is right to repost one of the most read “opinion” blog posts of the year; “Gospel 316 Strong.” In fact, this post saw renewed traffic this past weekend via Google searches about the Boston Red Sox victory parade. 

Go back with me to April…

It’s everywhere this week, Boston 617 Strong, but for reasons we wish were not true.
Once again our world was exposed to horrific scenes of evil induced mayhem, maiming and death. This time it was Boston, which is area code 617, hence the number.

Truth is, it’s everywhere every day.

Certainly our hearts ache for those who lost a loved one, have a loved one fighting for their life or were even there at the Boston Marathon. There are few things that sock us in the gut harder than seeing a child’s life viciously taken and shake us to the core more than the randomness of wondering if the person with a backpack next to us is about to detonate a bomb. But this is life in the world we live in 2013. Evil’s maliciousness is all around us and the solution is too.

I do not wish to in any way minimize the brutality of what took place in Boston but we live in an era of causes and we can miss the forest for the trees right in front of us. Boston 617 Strong has rapidly became a cause. What do I mean by that?

Let me first explain what I mean by an era of causes. What drives people today is the phenomenon of the cause. We want something to invest our emotions into. More specifically, our moral compass emotions. We want to feel good about our contribution to this world. We instinctively know there is so much wrong all around us that we want to do something good, pray something good, give to something good.

In my email box this morning was an offer to help those in Boston by giving to them through my electricity provider. Really, my electric company? Why? Because they understand the phenomenon of cause.

Many who read this blog are familiar with a national radio network, KLOVE. They just concluded their spring pledge drive and reached their goal of being fully funded. They did something different with this pledge drive though, they donated shoes to orphans if you donated to them. They understand the phenomenon of cause. It was not enough to just explain to people that they are about the gospel and Christian music, they needed to attach a cause to it.

I must give a disclaimer at this point. Right now I’m personally attached to a cause. My niece Kailee Bridges is battling cancer and there have been and will be benefits to aid her cause. I’m seeing firsthand the power and the blessing of the cause phenomenon. So, I’m not heading down the path of condemning the cause phenomenon, I would be hypocritical if I did.

Here is the path I’m heading down; a reminder of priorities and slippery slopes when it comes to this phenomenon of causes.

First, the greatest cause that dwarfs all other causes is the gospel of Jesus Christ. As a follower of Christ we should first and foremost and always be Gospel 316 Strong (I’ll let you figure out what 316 stands for). Our priority is the Gospel. If you feel led to give to Boston 617 Strong let me encourage you to find a true-to-the-gospel source to give it to. The answer for our world is that Jesus came to save sinners. Yes, a few people in Boston might need some sort of financial help right now, but a million times more; Boston needs the Gospel. If you are led to pray (and as a Christian you should), pray for the gospel to penetrate lives. Pray for people to find the Prince of Peace not worldly peace.

Second, guard yourself from sliding down the slippery slope of the latest cause keeping you from the greatest cause. Causes certainly can serve as a means to the gospel but should never serve as the gospel. Scriptures are clear; we are saved by grace not works. Works (read: causes) often serve as a slippery slope away from the gospel; a distraction if you will. Here is the thing; works will never save a soul in and of themselves. But the gospel of grace, Jesus Christ as our sin substitute, by Him alone and by faith in Him alone, saves people. Good works are just that, good works. We are exhorted to do them and have our reputation marked by them but they should not be disconnected from the gospel. Good works are only good if the gospel is in them; otherwise they are just towers being built in Babel.

Our need in all this is to be Gospel 316 Strong; by praying for the gospel to be the true healing in Boston and by sharing the gospel with your friends as you discuss the bombings. Evil may appear to win the day some days but the Gospel is stronger. Jesus will build His Church and evil cannot stop that. Take heart, my Christian friend and remain Gospel 316 Strong even in the face of evil.

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