I’ve spent most of the morning thinking about a man I haven’t talked to in eight years.
Jack Lee is one of the finest men I’ve ever known. He owned a company I once worked for. While any man can run a company of a few hundred employees, scant few run theirs like Jack.
Jack knew my wife’s name. A day before my birthday, Jack asked me if I had any plans for the day. Jack remembered my anniversary. In fact, Jack knew all those important names and dates in his employees lives, and not because some reminder software belched up the info in his planner that morning. He actually kept that info in his head because he considered it essential.
When a problem came up in the corporate health plan, Jack was there for every meeting and changed things so that our package was even better than before (in an age where health plans were getting worse). During my tenure with the company, he kept improving the retirement and investment plans till they were the envy of the industry.
Jack’s office was a hundred miles away from my location, but he routinely showed up in our office to check in with people. When my Mom got ill, and it was clear that I was going to have to move back to Ohio to care for her, Jack threw a going away party. In speaking about my contributions, he teared up. I’d worked for the company less than eighteen months.
Tearing up when losing an employee was common for Jack because his employees weren’t just ten-digit numbers on a folder stashed in an HR filing cabinet. They were flesh and blood people who had lives outside of work. And Jack was committed to his people. I know that the company pocketed less money than was possible because Jack put people before profits. For him, that commitment meant everything.
I say this with regret, but I don’t know if Jack is a believer or not. What gets me is that if he’s not, he exemplified godly commitment better than many of the most vocal Christians I’ve known in my life.
In a disposable age, when everything is classified by a system of worth straight from hell itself, we need more people like Jack Lee. And more than anything, those people should be coming from our churches.
I hate to see people bail. They bail on their promises. They bail on other people. They even bail on their families. That lack of commitment sends one enormous message: nothing has inherent value.
When there is no commitment, our words lose all meaning.
When there is no commitment, we live for the moment and plan nothing.
When there is no commitment, we run after the inconsequential.
When there is no commitment, the least of these remain the least of these.
When there is no commitment, the pillars of society fail.
When there is no commitment, any evil can be justified.
When there is no commitment, it’s every man for himself.
In an age like that, the Church must offer something better.
Jesus Christ is committed to His Church. The question is, Just how committed are we to Him and to each other?
It scares me how paltry our commitment is. Times of uncertainty are not the moments for a gut check. The gut check should come before the battle, not in the midst of it. We are heading into dark times and are completely and utterly unprepared for them because we have not made the commitments needed to weather the storms.
Do we realize how close our economy is to collapse? The Big Three automakers are nearly bankrupt, and as they go, so goes a huge chunk of our economy through a massive domino effect. What happens when a third of the people in a church are out of work? What happens when your bank fails and FDIC can’t cover the loss? What happens when you lose your home?
You see, commitment is behind all those issues. Can we say, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him,” or do we gradually slip away? Do we help others in need even if it costs us everything? What do we do?
If the Church of Jesus Christ doesn’t embody commitment, if it doesn’t hurt us a little to follow Christ, and if we’re all talk with no real guts behind what we say we believe, then the world just got a lot more hopeless.
As for me, I’m not ready to walk away, no matter how much it hurts.