Keep it Simple

Les Feldman

“If you love me, you will keep my commandments” (John 14:15 ESV).

The end.

For such a simple statement, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments,” this verse is often exaggerated or ignored. Jesus has been reassuring the disciples as He approaches His impending death and resurrection. Part of that included encouragement — their knowledge of Him was their way to God (John 14:4–6). Those who believe in Him have the opportunity to do “greater works.”

There is more to be sure, but we are influenced by daily challenges. Then I start to think, we don’t live in isolation, and life itself is like a proverbial book with chapters of triumph, tribulations and temptations. Yes, temptations. 

I know all their songs but that’s The Temptations, the Motown version, but somewhat Biblical to a sinner like me. No, the temptations from the devil.

So since I’m thinking we are shown and know the correct path, I’m curious about some notable leaders’ opinions about religion that also shape us for bad and worse.

Simple Quotes

“I’d be more willing to accept religion, even if I didn’t believe it, if I thought it made people nicer to each other, but I don’t think it does.” –Andy Rooney  formerly of ‘60 Minutes’

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member and legendary prolific songwriter and performer Smokey Robinson: Jesus Christ is the “Way out of this havoc and the Way Into Paradise.”

NBA basketball legend Earvin “Magic” Johnson says his faith in God was essential in carrying him through the valleys, “Faith was everything. I always lean on my faith,” 

Elvis Presley -“He wanted to give his talent to God but the world was too tempting to resist.” Presley once said, “I believe in the Bible. I believe that all good things come from God. I don’t believe I’d sing the way I do if God hadn’t wanted me to.”

Warren Buffett, the 92-year-old CEO and Chairman of Berkshire Hathaway at his annual shareholders meeting – Amid the six hours of questions directed to Mr. Buffett, the one question that caught the reporters’ attention and held it for the rest of the day was a question asked by a man probably 30 years old. This young man stepped up to the microphone and in the midst of 31,000 people asked Mr. Buffett, the world’s richest man at that time, if he knew and had a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. Without hesitation, Mr. Buffett responded … “No, I am an agnostic. I don’t know whether there is a God or not. Maybe when I die I will find out, but I don’t know.”

Astronaut Alan Shepard once stated in a NASA press conference that he was not a member of any church but that he regularly attended the Christian Science Church. Shepard took microfilm of the first issue of The Christian Science Monitor from 1908 with him to the moon and in difficult situations: “When things go wrong, God will put them right.”

And finally, President George W. Bush asked Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld to begin a cabinet meeting with a prayer. It came as a surprise, as he “had never been one to wear my faith on my sleeve,” he admits in his memoir Known and Unknown.

Still, Rumsfeld says he prayed fervently. It was, after all, September 14, 2001.

“Ever faithful God,” Rumsfeld began, “We seek Your special blessing today for those who stand as sword and shield, protecting the many from the tyranny of the few. Our enduring prayer is that You shall always guide our labors and that our battles shall always be just.”

I particularly like “We seek Your special blessing today for those who stand as sword and shield…”



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