The Greatest Sin of My Century
“The greatest sin of the century is the non-compassionate use of accumulated wealth.” Francis Schaeffer commenting on the 20th Century.
I will never forget reading these words from Dr. Schaeffer in the 1970s. In the light of so many sins committed in the 20th century, the century in which I was born, I would never have chosen the sin he chose as our greatest sin.
Today, more than 40 years after reading his words, I can see why he chose “the non-compassionate use of accumulated wealth” as the sin behind all of our other sins. Dr. Schaeffer was hearing Jesus.
Jesus said that it is impossible to love God and love money.
Jesus told a rich, young ruler to go and sell all his assets, give his money to the poor and follow Him because the danger of accumulated wealth stopping his love was real.
Jesus told us to give up our coat and our cloak in a conflict because resolution, reconciliation and a return to love are far more valuable than material possessions.
Jesus describes in detail a rich man in torment after death because he showed no compassion for a beggar at the gate of his luxurious lifestyle. According to Jesus, compassion or non-compassion matters eternally.
Dr. Schaeffer was echoing the words of Jesus when he selected his sin of the century. Even so, confessing the sin of my century is not close enough to home for me. I need to identify my sin of the century.
To make the sin of the century about others and not about me is to leave me out of the discussion. I must see the sin of the century as very personal and not just collective. Confessing their sins and not mine is not enough.
So, here is my individual confession. My personal sin of the century is the non-compassionate use of the love of Jesus in me.
In many ways and in many times I have failed to deliver love that lives in me through Jesus. In Christ I could have loved more and I did not. What could have been done in me and through me did not happen because I held on to His love only for myself.
Before I evaluate the sin of the world around me I must hear Jesus say to me that my failure to love God and my neighbor is what He will use to evaluate my life in my century. He will evaluate the compassionate or non-compassionate use of His love. I am loved by Jesus in order to love.
He said to him, “What is written in the law? What is your reading of it?”
So he answered and said, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,’ and ‘your neighbor as yourself.’ ”
And He said to him, “You have answered rightly; do this and you will live.” Luke 10:26-28
Changing the greatest sin of my century into the greatest victory of my century begins with my daily surrender to Jesus so He can make compassionate use of me. I must abide in His love and deliver His love one day at a time.