Today's proverb is a doozy:
"Ill-gotten treasures profit nothing,
but virtue saves from death."
I've been following the Tiger Woods fiasco and it never fails to amaze me how some people expect to get away with just doing whatever they feel like doing when they feel like doing it. There's no retribution for their actions that enters into possibility for them. The rules don't apply to them. They have nothing to limit their consumption be it greed, sex, food, drugs or whatever.
Nike's moniker for years was "Just Do It" and Tiger Woods seems to have taken that literally. His alleged affair is just one more note on the kind of stars that believe that the world is simply their own personal playground and they are the ones who have all the toys and don't have to share with others.
The virtues of temperance and fidelity are often checkpoints for us. Is my desire based on an unhealthy addiction that I feed all too easily. Do I keep in mind my present commitments and responsibilities? Or do I cast all of that to the wind? The latter seems to be all to easily dispensed with in a country where the divorce rate is close to 50%. Do half of the people who get married really understand the notion of commitment? Do both parties in a marriage understand that they will sacrifice for each other and that "no matter what" they need to be bound to one another working on the issues that face them?
Will both parties always have each other's back?
Or will one violate their sexual commitment and the other take a golf club and start swinging?
It seems to me that Tiger's empty virtues lead him to gain these ill-gotten treasures and if he only had a bit more humility he may not be in the headlines today.
But who am I to talk?
Often I forget my own commitments to my wife. I choose other things over spending time with her and some of those things are actually good things...like my ministry or even writing this blog. But they need to come secondarily to my marriage. And I need to remember that.
So I am off tonight to spend the weekend with my bride! In New York City for a day and then on to our family Christmas party (her side of the family). About 100 family members gather together to simply recommit ourselves to one another as family and to celebrate God's re-commitment to us at Christmas, where God embeds His commitment in human flesh, in human experience. God becomes one of us, as Joan Osbourne once wrote so we might "make our way home."
It is in that anticipation of this human God who loved us not only enough to take on our own flesh but also our own death, that we rejoice. It is not an ill-gotten treasure to be sure. But it is one that should indeed call us into virtue.