The Bottom Line of Faith
Christopher B. Harbin
Joshua 3:7-17; Ps 107:1-7, 33-37; Matt 23:1-12; 1Th 2:9-13
We have all heard of a bottom line. In democratic politics it is the final result after Election Day. In the court system it is the judge's final ruling when appeals are exhausted. In sports, it is the final score or a World Series title. Perhaps more often, it is an accounting phrase that regarding the final balance after all income, expenses, and losses. It is the final result, the profit after which one plans, dreams, and works. In Christianity, we are tempted to think of the bottom line as the determination of where we spend eternity. Shouldn't the bottom line of faith be more than a destination?
We are embroiled in the final throes of a political race, debate, and campaign strategies. We are encouraged to believe that on Tuesday, or maybe Wednesday, but at least by the end of the week it will all be over. In the back of our minds, we are aware of the possibility of lawsuits alleging voting irregularities, fraud, or the rigging of electronic voting, as well the looming threat of recounts. At least we can res assured that there will be a new president by January 20th.
That is the bottom line, after all, isn't it? Or is that only the beginning? After all, elections are about more than a slate of people taking office. It is about the application and definition of policies, laws, and administration over the near term future. At the end of Election Day, it will only have just begun. There will be cabinets and ministers to appoint, staff to select, and policies to draft, fine-tune, implement, and issues to face in the days, weeks, and years ahead. The bottom line will not be the Election Day results. It will be the judgment of historians fifty years hence that determines the bottom line results of Tuesday's election.
It is easy to get wrapped up in an election campaign. For so many, faith is even wrapped up in electing the specific ...
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