Vol.X No.XII Pg.8
February 1974

Stuff About Things

Robert F. Turner

As bro. Pickup and I flew over the Pacific in a modern jet plane, eating steak while we watched a movie, Harry remarked, We missionaries must make sacrifices, you know. The humor was dulled a few weeks later, but ordinary travel problems did not cause us to forget our many blessings. Despite the energy crisis, and the adjustments we may have to make in the coming years, we are among the most fortunate people on earth. Americans are fussing about shortage of things most of the worlds population has never had in the first place. And, in typical American fashion, we use whatever is current (be it Watergate or Arab oil embargo) to justify doing whatever we want to do.

Recently A.C.C. announced a pleasure tour package which promised a grand time for all. It included a round-trip to Hawaii on a Braniff 747. But what really topped the pitch for me was the closing line, viz., The trip also gives the people an opportunity to follow President Nixons energy plan by using public transportation. Now isnt that a wonderful spirit of cooperation? The fifty alumni who will make the trip will leave their private planes and yachts at home, and travel Braniff 747. Wow! If I enjoy a chuckle at the expense of whoever wrote that little gem, it is all in the spirit of the game.

Affluency seems to spawn its own problems — but in reality it only waters and cultivates the spirit that is back of all sin. It provides the stage on which we parade our pride, self-righteousness and hypocrisy. If one can afford new clothes for fashions sake — may even need them for the type of work done— it is commendable that the old clothes are given to someone who needs them. But it is not commendable to pretend that such giving is a great sacrifice on our part. I heard of one fellow whose tax advisor told him to give $1,000. to some church so that he would fall in a lower (money saving) tax bracket He did so— which was good business and good for the church — but he had to spoil it by making a public thing of his great liberality.

We need not expect less fortunate people to understand the problems of our affluent (albeit inflated) society. They will criticize us, while using their less favorable circumstances to excuse their failures. Neither poverty nor riches can excuse our failure to give ourselves. (2 Cor. 8)