Pop Culture

Steve Harvey and Objective, Universal Truth

A friend recently forwarded this video to me:

Screen Shot 2015-12-29 at 9.33.05 AM

In it comedian and talk show host Steve Harvey interviews a man who returned a pile of cash ($98,000US to be exact) he found stashed in a desk he bought on Craigslist. At one point, our lovable returner-rabbi said, “This was the only option for us. We were taught from a young age to be considerate about the feelings of others.” Great stories like this happen all the time, but I was particularly touched by the crowd’s positive response. They looked upon him with enduring eyes and cheered him with ferocious claps. We could potentially argue that for at least a brief moment, they, who I’m guessing were largely not orthodox Jews, were united by “the human spirit.”

Yet, in a world that seems increasingly marked by selfishness and sadness, I find it hard to believe that “human spirit” on its own could have much to do with this unity much less the man’s decision to return the money outright.

Instead, I propose the human spirit points us to something more. Indeed, we have been created (regardless of how long you believe it took) by a selfless God who wanted us to live in selfless relationship with Him and each other. I invite you to consider what it would look like if we were to return to a time when we believed there might possibly be something outside of ourselves.

The quest for reality will always lead you outside of yourself, for you can’t be your own source (from How People Grow, on sale for $2.99 as of writing).

So, where does this lead us? It leads us to something offensive called “objective truth.” Some things go beyond you. They go beyond your peeps. They go beyond your culture. They are universal. They are untainted by the ebb and flow, the ups and downs, of life. They point us to something, Someone, outside ourselves. This is why C. S. Lewis could confidently pen, “If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.”


“Remember The Name” (Parental Advisory)

As a fun joke, some friends of mine were challenged to a kickball match.  The theme song of the challenge video was Fort Minor’s “Remember the Name (parental advisory).” Here are the lyrics from the chorus:

This is ten percent luck, twenty percent skill
Fifteen percent concentrated power of will
Five percent pleasure, fifty percent pain
And a hundred percent reason to remember the name!

They got me thinking: what things in our lives are worth adopting this attitude towards? Unfortunately, I have a pretty low pain tolerance.  In general, I avoid situations that are uncomfortable for my body, mind or spirit.  But I think there might be something to this. The writer of these song lyrics says painful moments outweigh pleasurable moments 10 fold.  That doesn’t seem like the kind of life I would enjoy living.  But what we see here is an example of someone who sees beyond the current situation. Jesus lived the same way:

“looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God”(Hebrews 12:2).

He set aside everything that felt good and easy so that He could live out the fullness of what The Father had called Him to.  Understand, this wasn’t in order to get God’s approval.  Rather, this was living from a place of God’s approval.  We must be very careful not to twist this into a gospel of works.  But James got it right, show your faith by your works (James 2:14-26).

Perhaps, Paul had it right:

“To this end I strenuously contend with all the energy Christ so powerfully works in me” (Colossians 1:29).

May you work hard in this life with God’s strength so that many, many people can Remember The Name of Jesus.

Make it Connect