I never saw these commercials on tv, but my parents told me that there used to be Wendy’s commercials with older ladies asking, “Where’s the beef?”. I have since looked up the commercial online and watched it, because of the humor my parents got out of it. In the commercial, which is a simple one, 3 older ladies are standing in front of a burger with a very large bun. But when they pick up the top bun, the burger is incredibly small. Thus, the question is asked, “Where’s the beef?” I don’t know about you, but I don’t like getting shortchanged at a restaurant. I like getting what I paid for, like the ladies in the commercial. When we expect to get something, but we don’t, then we get upset. Maybe we start complaining to the manager. We want to get what we paid for because we are justified for it.
In memoriam of that commercial, this space will be reserved for the question of, “Where’s the peace?” This election has brought out the worst in people, Christian and non-Christian alike. Some, maybe many, of you are upset at the result of Biden winning the election, and yes, I’m aware of the ongoing legal challenge of Trump to get the results overturned. But is this not the holiday season? We just had Thanksgiving and Christmas is in a few weeks. It’s supposed to be a time of peace, isn’t it? So why are we, of all people, so worried about so many things? I have a theory, and you may be upset at my theory, but here it is. I think some of you have made an idol out of politics. I don’t say that lightly though, but over and over I’m reminded of Jesus’ words in John 16:19. Jesus tells his disciples, “If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.” Paul reiterates this sentiment in Philippians 3:20-21, which says, “But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.” I don’t see how we as a church are living in light of these verses that tell us we don’t belong to the world.
I want to make something clear here. I don’t think we should just abandon what is happening in this world and be purely heaven-focused. As Oliver Wendall Holmes said, “Some people are so heavenly minded that they are no earthly good.” We don’t want to be like that. However, I don’t think we all have found that balance that Jesus wants yet. I just worry that some of you are allowing the political landscape of this country to drown out what the Bible says. I believe that peace is obtained not only when we read the Bible, but also when we take to heart the truths found in scripture. There are a lot of things that Scripture makes very clear. God is in control. He always has been. The pain we face today won’t compare with the glory that will be revealed in us in heaven. This world is broken and needs saving from Satan’s power. If we don’t tell people, they won’t know the gospel. And there are soooo many other amazing truths in the Bible, as I’m sure you’re aware of. But the reason I bring this up is because over and over in the Bible, God tells His people to trust him. There are so many passages about not worrying that I could go on and on about that one topic. I’m willing to bet, though, that me telling you to stop worrying is probably going to do more harm than good. I know things look bad from your perspective in this country with COVID and Biden winning the presidency. I know you’re probably frustrated and upset at how 2020 has gone. It’s been stressful on all of us, but I want you to put all that aside for this last little bit and maybe allow you to view things differently.
We are coming upon Christmas in a few short weeks. As we await the celebration of Christ coming down to earth to die for our sins, let us be reminded of the words of the angel to the shepherds in Luke 2:14, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
God loves you. He sent Jesus to us on that most holy of nights to show his great love. And in my experience in hardship, when Jesus shows up, peace comes. The people of Israel hadn’t heard from God in 400 years. They had been conquered time and time again. But then Jesus. God sent a baby to bring peace on earth. Not physical peace, as there are still wars and violence and corruption, but mental and spiritual peace, so that whatever happens, we can still say, “it is well with my soul.” So yes, things are chaotic and messy and hard, but Jesus has come. Jesus has brought peace for those that will claim it. We need only seek first the kingdom of God. Put aside the worldly pain and hardship. Cast your eyes to heaven, from where our help comes from, and there you will find peace. It is from there that the good shepherd comes from to prepare a table before you in the presence of your enemies. And it’s to there that we will one day go and have everlasting peace and joy. Let that be where your mind goes when things aren’t going the way you want. The more you and I do that, the more peace we will have and the more the world will see God through us.
"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid." -John 14:27 (NIV)