Today's Little Lift
by Jim Bullington
Progress can be defined as “to develop in a positive way,” or “to move forward toward a common goal.” The problem with each of these definitions is they leave it up to the speaker/writer to determine what is positive and whether or not the attainment of the goal is really progress. For instance, a gang of bank robbers might move forward with their plans to rob a bank, but is that really progress. Or, a new subdivision might be planned which destroys hundreds or thousands of years of natural phenomena.” Is that really progress? Not to argue the case one way or another, but one can readily see that progress, as we often use the term, can mean different things to different people.
Go back in biblical history until after the flood and after the earth had been repopulated by its survivors. Moses wrote through inspiration: “Now the whole earth had one language and one speech. And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar, and they dwelt there. Then they said to one another, ‘Come, let us make bricks and bake them thoroughly.’ They had brick for stone, and they had asphalt for mortar. And they said, ‘Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower whose top is in the heavens; let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.’” (Genesis 11.1-4).
I suppose had one read the Shinar Daily Gazette he might have seen headlines detailing the progress that was being made toward the development of a gigantic ancient skyscraper. The reporter might have even used terms like, colossal, one-of-a-kind, first ever, record-setting, tourist attraction, etc., etc. Those who read the daily news would likely have joined in the celebration over the engineering marvel that was being planned right in their own backyard. Community pride, a sense of togetherness, and brotherhood likely would have developed over the exciting project. In addition to the aesthetic benefits of the project, an economic boon would result providing hundreds of jobs in an otherwise cash strapped economy. It was, from almost all perspectives, a win-win-win project!
Yet, there was one dimension that related to progress that had been omitted. Somehow, the planners, financers, and community leaders had neglected to ask if the building of such a structure was consistent with the will of God. And, “as luck would have it,” it just so happened that God was totally opposed to the idea. Progress? It all depends on how you define your terms. What seemed to be progress from all human perspectives, was actually a giant step backward for mankind rather than a leap forward as the proponents of the project had promised!
Here is where the rubcame in then and it is where the rub comes in now. All movement is not progress. All pride is not positive. All economic gain is not to be pursued. All that sits well with the polls is not necessarily progress. There are measures of absolute right and wrong that should be applied to human activities and not merely how the numbers stack up! If something were voted upon and an entirely unanimous vote came from the general public, that thing would not be progress if it were contrary to God’s will. As someone has said, “There is no right way to do a wrong thing!” Progress is not a matter of the polls when it involves moral and ethical issues. God has a voice in the matter and, as responsible adults, we have an obligation to listen to Him.
If progress were movement, the rocking chair business would be progress personified. However, progress is a term that may only be completely defined and understood in eternity, In the mean time, our measure of progress must have more to it than the resolve to “Let Us make Bricks!”
1. What human motive is expressed regarding the building of the great tower?
2. What other human motives might have contributed to the fervor to build the tower?
3. What was God’s will regarding the matter? Is there any indication that the people involved cared what His will was or whether or not they sought to find that information out?
4. When it comes to right and wrong, how many votes does it take to overturn God’s view of the matter?
"Point of Reference" from
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