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Bought not rented

by Jaynan Clark Egland (President, WordAlone Network)

April 2, 2003

An article in March 17 Newsweek entitled, “The Will of the Tribes,” describes a lesson the Taliban learned the “hard way” in Afghanistan: “Tribal loyalties can be rented, but never bought.”

With the beginning of the war in Iraq, conversations this past week have been filled with discussions concerning U.S. popularity photo of Pastor Clark Egland on the international scene and the U.S. motivations, including the economic consequences. These topics seem to sway individuals’ decisions on how closely they wish to be viewed as aligned to U.S. policy. I focus once again on the previous quote, “… loyalties can be rented, but never bought.”

Where does the debate belong?

When the bottom line remains, “What’s in this for me?” How can there ever be the pursuit of that which is “true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable…” Philippians 4:8a.

When the rental price is something to be bargained, I am shifting sand or a reed shaken by the wind.

Certainty seems to be at a premium these days as our loyalties are draped with “for rent” signs.

In our lives of faith, our professions, our politics and our families do we shift, blow and bend with every change? Do we live out our lives in small worlds of accommodation, tolerance and realignment? Have we have become so open-minded that our brains seemed to have rolled out the door; so accepting we will embrace anything if given enough time to adjust?

Does “loyalty” of any kind any longer exist or is all negotiable?

Lent is an opportune time to consider what part of ourselves we have put up for rent. How often have we asked the question, “What’s in this for me?” When have we rented out our loyalties because the cost of standing firm seemed too costly?

The message of the Gospel no longer allows me to sit around a bargaining table to debate a rental price. The blood of Jesus bought me–and you. God’s purchase calls us to faithfulness to Jesus alone.

What’s in it for me?

Absolute certainty to whom I belong.