Ten Steps to becoming a MVP
It’s interesting how in our practical lives we acknowledge how action breeds results. When a person wants to lose weight, he goes to the gym; he wants to get smart, he opens a book; he wants to a get a woman, he starts feeding her a load of baloney . Yet so many of these same people who know how to exert an effort to see change in their lives all become “rationalizers” who won’t get off the couch when it comes to God. The same people who are at the gym at 6 a.m., at work at 8 a.m., or on the golf course every Sunday have the nerve to say when it comes to practical religion, “I don’t like to be regimented.” I can’t begin to tell you how many times, as a former rabbi’s wife, that people have told me, “God knows I’m a good person in my heart,” and then they conveniently point to one errant priest or rabbi as an excuse why the entire religion is not for them. How fascinating that they’ve also seen fat people at the gym, yet they didn’t write off the health club as useless. It seems that the only thing not made in China these days is excuses. We manufacture them here at home in excess.
So to all the cardiac-faithful, meaning those who have God in their hearts but not in their schedules, let’s see if you can pass the good person test. How many of the Ten Commandments can you count on your ten fingers that you didn’t violate?
The first commandment in the Old Testament is the belief that God is the origin of all things: “I am the Lord your God.” It is from this starting point that any of the commandments have relevance. So with that in mind, let’s proceed.
II “You shall have no other gods….” Though you may not have a golden calf in your living room, it does not mean you are guilt free of idol worship. ANYTHING that comes between you and God is an idol, including your money, your fancy lifestyle, your fear, your own arrogance and your vanity. If on a holiday you’re on the golf course instead of church or temple, then your idols are those irons. Hhhmmm, not even gold; that sucks.
III “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord in vain.” If you drive a car in New York City or Los Angeles, I’d have a hard time believing that to the beat of your honking you’re not taking God’s name in vain. But just let’s say you pass this test, how many times have you made a promise to God and not kept it? Once that plane landed safely, your oath to save the orphans vanished somewhere between the passengers claps and the terminal. That too is calling upon God's name in vain. Would you call the CEO of your company every day and waste his time too? See you in the unemployment line.
IV “Remember the seventh day and keep it holy.” A lot of people will say that they serve God in their own way, when they have the time and not necessarily on the “Sabbath.” Just try that routine on your girlfriend and tell her you’re celebrating Valentine’s Day on June 3rd or tell your wife you’ll remember your anniversary when you get a chance. Good luck! Nice knowing you. (212) 555-1315. Oh, sorry that's the number for a divorce attorney. A relationship with God is the same as any other relationship. Abuse it and lose it.
V “Honor they mother and father.” Most people think this decree means not to be rude to your parents. It doesn’t stop there. This commandment doesn’t have a statute of limitations or expire when your parents pass on. Even after they die your behavior in this world reflects on them. If you behave immorally, are corrupt, or, conversely, are decent to others, your behavior honors or dishonors them.
VI “Thou shalt not murder.” Just as you were about to raise a finger and count this as one commandment you didn’t break, know that embarrassing a person, according to biblical exegetes, is tantamount to murder as it causes the blood to rush away from someone’s face. Breaking someone’s pride and dignity and crushing their spirit is also regarded as a form of murder.
VII “Thou shalt not commit adultery.” The pope once said that even if you look at your own wife in a lustful manner, it is considered adultery. Since then, Clinton never looked at his own wife that way again. The statistics for adultery are very high. But let’s make one thing clear, your wife may be a witch, your marriage may be dead, you may be sleeping in different rooms, nonetheless if you drop your pants in the wrong place, it is still adultery.
VIII “Thou shalt not steal.” As a young girl I remember hearing a story about two people who walked out of an Eaton’s department store with a canoe. They stole it in plain sight. Sometimes what is very obvious goes unnoticed. So you may be surprised to learn that manipulating someone’s mind or heart is considered stealing. When a doctor makes you wait for an hour in his waiting room, he is stealing your time. Let Obama add that to healthcare reform.
IX “Thou shalt not bear false witness against they neighbor.” Perhaps you would not lie under oath, but any form of lying against another person’s good name, even to aggrandize yourself or your business in an apparently harmless fashion, is wrong. You never know where those words will land and they may in effect lead someone to commit suicide.
X “Though shalt not covet.” Maybe you’re not lusting after your neighbor’s ass, but have you bought things you cannot afford, over-extended your self on a mortgage or debt? We do such things because we covet what others have. We have big eyes on the world and we want the same things as everyone else. Coveting may cause us to hurt others as well as ourselves. The Torah cautions us not to run after our eyes. Imagine if God forbid you were blind, how you would come to reassess which things are really valuable in life.
Dear friends, as you are set to watch and enjoy Superbowl Sunday be reminded that the MVP is not a cardiac player who is a good player in his heart. He goes the distance to make the difference and his ACTIONS, not his love of football, differentiate the winners from the losers.
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