What do you and I have in common with Donald Trump, Barack Obama, and Hilary Clinton? That question may offend you at first, spike your heart-rate, or even inspire thoughts and feelings you're not particularly proud of. I assure you, though, there is something. But don't take my word for it, trust the Word of God.
On Saturday, August 10th, I attended a championship PGA event at Bellerive Country Club in St. Louis. It was hot and beautiful on the course, with at least 100,000 of us waiting for Tiger, DJ, Spieth, or Malory to show up and tee off. Guess what? We ended up getting rained out. And with clothes soaked to the bone, my friend Jan and I made our way back, discussing how our sunny day turned suddenly into a storm. Jan said it was like the "Tower of Siloam." I asked him where I could read about this tower myself, and as soon as I got home I opened up the book of Luke.
Luke's Gospel speaks to something far more offensive in our culture today than comparing you and I with a few unfavorable politicians. And strangely enough, it's actually the very thing that ties us all together: repentance. At the beginning of Chapter 13, we read about this tower at Siloam, which exposes in technicolor every human's urgent need for personal repentance:
"Now on the same occasion there were some present who reported to Him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. And Jesus said to them, 'Do you suppose that these Galileans were greater sinners than all other Galileans because they suffered this fate? I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. Or do you suppose that those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them were worse culprits than all the men who live in Jerusalem? I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.'" (Luke 13:1-5 NASB)
Here's the deal. In one fell swoop, this gargantuan tower-structure just keeled over and crushed 18 people to death under its weight. It happened out of nowhere and without expectation. Remind you of anything? A tower crashing down unexpectedly is not unlike our tsunamis, our earthquakes, our floods—our hurricanes. These disasters keep popping up everywhere, with no greater frequency in recorded history. Sure, we could certainly lean on environmental science to explain them all away, but who do we say is in control? Who do we believe is sovereign Lord over the heavens and earth? Ask yourself this: Can these tragic disasters be explained as mere acts of Mother Nature or the grim results of global warming?
These are certainly interesting questions, but for our purposes the answer is simple: it doesn't matter. Reality check. When destruction comes to wreak havoc on the world, the cause is irrelevant. The crux of the matter is that any person (from any race, tribe, people group, or region of the world) could be swept up in its chaos. A timeless principle we can apply today from Luke's Gospel is that—good, bad, republican, or democrat— no one is off limits. The only defense we have is to acknowledge our sin and repent.
Whether you believe our natural disasters are caused by Mother Nature, global warming, the sovereign God of the Universe, or something else entirely, we can all admit that we live in a broken world. You and me, Trump and Obama, Clinton and Putin: each one of us is under the same rule, and each one of us is culpable for our own sin. No matter your philosophy, race, religion, or political affiliation, we all live under the law fulfilled in the person of Jesus Christ. And to make any one or any thing Lord over him in your life is to reject the saving grace he makes available through the cross. And furthermore, to reject Christ will leave you to the same fate those 18 people suffered at Siloam. Jesus says, "Unless you repent you will ALL likewise perish" (13:5).
I leave you today, repenting more than usual myself, as I "live like I'm dying" (Thank you, Tim McGraw).
It's that simple. Repent.
— Stan Bower is the CBMC Director for the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Prior to graduating at the University of Texas–Austin with a bachelor in Business Administration, he played basketball at Texas Tech. Starting as an accountant for Pennzoil, Stan spent most of his professional career in Houston as a commercial real estate broker. Stan Became a successful business man, operating his own Commercial Brokerage Firm, Bower Interests. During his real estate career, Stan began to get involved with CBMC in the Houston area. Dave Rathkamp, CBMC Area Director in Houston, built a relationship with Stan and discipled him for over a period of 13 years. After those tremendous years of spiritual growth under Dave's leadership, Stan entered full-time ministry with CBMC. In 1997, Stan moved his entire family to St. Louis, where he served as the Area Director for 20 years.
In 2017, Stan and his wife Laura followed Christ's leading back to Texas in a joint venture to facilitate the movement of CBMC in the Greater DFW area. Coupled with winning the lost and discipling the saved, Stan's heart and ministry is that of one-on-one discipleship.