Each week there’s a spot in our local newspaper, The Border Watch, for an article by one of the local ministers.
They call it ‘Keeping The Faith’.
One of my colleagues writes most of them, but he’s in Papua New Guinea at the moment, so he’s lined a few of us up to write pieces while he’s away.
I don’t mind writing, and should probably not avoid doing it.
Anyway, currently there’s a bit of controversy that the local politicians and media are part of which flows from the decision of the State Government to sell three forward rotations of the wood from our local forests. This would mean, in effect that our local timber would be effectively under the control of the purchasers for the next one hundred years. There are fears for the viability of our local processing industries if the new purchasers decided to just remove all the timber in an unprocessed state to other places for processing.
Here’s more detail if you’re really interested
So, I wrote a piece that tried to use the controversy to open broader issues.
I put a label on it that said “Decisions Today And Consequences Tomorrow”.
The paper decided on the far catchier title “Would Jesus Sell Our Pines?”
I generally try to reference aspects of the Gospel obliquely in these pieces, instead of finishing each one with a Gospel appeal.
The decision to sell forward rotations of local plantation timber has provoked a lot of concern in our local community. Doubts abound about a decision made by those hundreds of kilometers away, which will realise a financial benefit that many suspect will primarily serve the interests of Adelaide. Next time you visit the city take a tram ride so you too can enjoy the fruit of the financial prosperity of our State.
While positions for and against the plan fire back and forth it is interesting to note that many are troubled by the notion of a sale that takes place now, but will still be a day-to-day reality for the grand-children and great grand-children of our current generation. One hundred years ago the local timber industry would have barely entered a second of these rotations. Who can argue confidently about what the nature of the forestry industry will be in one hundred and five years?
Yet we all know that whatever decision is taken in 2011 will leave a legacy for future generations. Our children, and their children after them, will live in the consequences of our decisions.
This dimension of thought is to be encouraged. And it should not be confined to issues such as forestry rotations and other aspects of the environment. What a wonderful message our new library provides to future generations about our community’s love for learning and knowledge. Our main corner development will leave a similar legacy of commitment to culture and art.
But what if we also applied this perspective to our personal lives? What if we made our decisions mindful of that which we are passing on to future generations? I’ve yet to conduct a funeral at which the deceased was lauded for their commitment to working overtime, or owning the biggest home theatre, or always driving a new car. The qualities which succeeding generations admire and value are love, encouragement, hospitality and time spent together.
What qualities do we encourage in our children? Often you’ll hear parents talk about their children’s grades, sporting achievements or trophies. You don’t often hear them brag about their child’s humility, thoughtfulness toward others or the way they go out of their way to be caring.
We can criticize a government which seems to value millions or billions of dollars today at the expense of tomorrow. But if we do so, consistency would invite us to think of the future when we make decisions today. Are we making choices that simply meet our current desires? Or are we making choices that build relationships and encourage those who follow us to also build their lives for the future?
In the Biblical book of Hebrews we are told that the people we read about in the Old Testament all made their current decisions based on a future certainty of trust in God’s promises provision of a Saviour. God’s people don’t just think about the effect of their decisions a century later. They make decisions in the light of eternity.