Serving the community since 1970

Pastor's Corner - Sept. 12, 2019

The rule that could change the world

“Do unto others as you would have

Them do unto you.”--The Golden Rule

“For you will be treated as you treat others.

The standard you use in judging is the standard

by which you will be judged.” --Matthew 7:2 NLT

Ah, the golden rule -- remember that one. As kids, it was drilled into our heads and hearts by parents, teachers, clergy and the man on the street. Years ago, it was the mantra of business, church and government alike. However, through the years it has lost its luster, so to speak, and been replaced by the greed and self-centeredness of thoughts like “do unto to others before they have a chance to do it unto you.” As the gold-chained strong man of the “A Team,” Mr. T oft said, “I believe in the Golden Rule -- the man with the most gold, rules.”

It does not matter whether you read the newspaper, turn on local and national news, or read the news feed on your IPhone, the news is the same. It centers around I, me, mine in business, on the streets or in government chambers, state or federal. I and my side are right, and you are wrong – and, by the way, we will scream, kick, push and shove until we defeat you or you acquiesce to see it my way. It is as if the Golden Rule has given way to a new rule of “Get all you can, can all you get, sit on the lid and blow up the rest.”[END ITAL]

Is anyone else tired of this, or am I on an island trying to live an old “pipe dream?” It was an old poet who lived and wrote in the late 19th and early 20th century, Edwin Markham, who had this insight into the Golden Rule, “We have committed the Golden Rule to memory; let us now commit it to life.” Think on that one for a moment. Perhaps even those of us who do in fact believe in and attempt to live by the Golden Rule of old have allowed the cynicism, selfishness and aggressiveness of our age to taint our thinking, challenge our ethics and even infiltrate our hearts just a little.

Nothing happens overnight -- changes happen little by little, day by day, one person at a time. And a return to the truth of the old Golden can once again become a reality as each of us begin not only to say the rule itself but to also believe in its power and to live it each moment of every day. Stop for a moment and remember the plan of our Lord to change the world. It was not a huge movement through the Roman power at the time; no, it was to pour himself in but 12 rag tag men and told them to “go into all the world...” (Matthew 28:19, 20) And change the world they did.

Perhaps you have heard of the movement to do “one random act of kindness every day.” Remember that movement was started by a blind professor at our local Bakersfield junior college several years ago and remains today as a national movement and thought.

And for sure you have tried and perhaps become addicted to Starbucks coffee, haven’t you? It seems as though you cannot drive more than three city blocks in any city of any size without passing one of their coffee-pushing stores. They too started with one store in Seattle, Wash., and now is a national craze. The same can be said of McDonald’s, Microsoft, or FedEx or any worldwide phenomenon.

Returning to the rule of the Golden Rule is the no different. One person at a time, by simply calling to mind another old saying of yesteryear, “do not judge a person until you have walked in their moccasins one mile” or as the golden rule of business states, “put yourself in your customer’s place.” Feel, sense and see as your neighbor feels, senses and sees, and living the Golden Rule will not be as tough as it seems. By the way, in so doing you will fulfill Jesus’ command to “…love your neighbor as yourself.”

Have a great week seeing life as others see it.

Jim Neal is pastor of First Southern Baptist Church in Shafter.


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