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We ought to do something

June 21, 2012

Some time ago New York City Mayor Michael Blumberg made national headlines when he announced that NYC was going to limit the size of soft drinks sold in city restaurants to 16 oz.  He cited the obesity problem and the ill effects of too much sugar as the cause.  A short time later, on a visit to relatives in the area, I was surprised to see that the city had taken to the local airways with a series of vivid commercial spots declaring soda little better than drinking poison.

Not to be outdone, the Town of Cambridge, Mass. has just initiated a series of steps to have the sale of soda within the city limits banned entirely.  I can’t help but think that, what with the Yankees and the Red Sox being such mortal enemies, the city fathers there could not bear the thought that perhaps New York would become a healthier place.

Of course, libertarians are shouting “nanny state” about all this and saying, once again, that big brother is trying to run our lives.  Supporters of the restrictions are saying that “we ought to do something” to stop the obesity crisis.  I suppose they have a point.  I read recently that the U.S. has something like 7% of the world’s population but nearly 30% of the world’s weight.

The problem is that, noble though they are trying to be, it is highly unlikely they will succeed in their quest.  The number of people out there who can say “I never realized that soda has more calories than water!” is distressingly small.  Even knowing that we ought to do something is a poor motivator to get us to do it.  But the “we ought to do something” crowd keeps trying.

We humans are a strange lot.  We have all the facts we need, we hear all the shouts to change our ways, and yet we do not.  Frankly, any pastor in America could have told the “ought to” crowd it wasn’t going to work.  Pastors are trained for and zealous for the most noble and important of causes, bringing people to saving faith in Christ and exhorting, encouraging and instructing us in how to live in and for Him.  Yet somehow we know the right doctrines, hear the good sermons and receive the best loving care and go right on being spiritual soda drinkers.

When churches turn legalistic with long lists of rules and “can’t do’s” it isn’t because the poor pastors love giving us restrictions and keeping us in line.  It is much more likely that their hearts ache to impart to us saving faith and a life filled with the love of Christ.  Who can blame them?

So here is a suggestion for a hot summer afternoon.  Go get a cold drink, even if it needs to be soda, and sit down and think about your pastor for a few minutes.  Take just a little time to thank him for his zeal to let you know what you ought to do.

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From → Christianity

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