Treasures in Heaven
Initially, before coach Jim Tressel was outed for essentially lying to his bosses and the NCAA, it looked like Ohio State was getting off kind of easy. In exchange for OSU's cooperation, the NCAA was willing to play good cop. It could have suspended five ineligible players who allegedly sold and/or bartered memorabilia to a local tattoo shop for the Sugar Bowl, but it didn't. It could have declared all five players retroactively ineligible and stricken all eleven Buckeye wins in 2010 from the books, along with their share of the Big Ten title, but it didn't. It could have gone after
the way it went after USC, in search of bowl bans and significant scholarship losses, but it didn't. In the wake of the sledgehammer that fell on the Trojans last summer, the punishment for Ohio State — a straightforward five-game suspension for four of the offending players to start the 2011 season, games the Buckeyes are likely to win, anyway — seemed minimal, perfunctory. Which is one of the reasons it made so many people so angry, or confused, or both. Ohio State
That, of course, was before Tressel's long-running, deliberate cover-up of the violations saw the light of day, and before it became clear that the NCAA — and possibly the higher-ups at Ohio State themselves — had been misled by one of the most respected men in the profession. What cooperation will buy you in leniency, deception will buy in retribution, and the NCAA began to extract its pound of flesh Friday with an official notice of allegations to the university.
It makes three allegations of "potential major violations," specifically:
• That, between November 2008 and May 2010, multiple student-athletes received preferential treatment and "sold institutionally issued athletics awards, apparel and equipment to Edward Rife, owner of a local tattoo parlor," adding up to more than $13,000 in cash, free tattoos, a loan and a discount on a used car one of the players bought from Rife.
• Under the same heading, that Tressel "knew or should have known" that at least two players had made inappropriate transactions with Rife, per a credible email tipster, but "he failed to report information to athletics administration and, as a result, permitted football student-athletes to participate in intercollegiate athletics competition while ineligible."
• That, as reported by the university, Tressel "failed to deport himself in accordance with the honest and integrity normally associated with the conduct and administration of intercollegiate athletics as required by NCAA legislation and violated ethical-conduct legislation" by failing to report emails alerting him to violations, withholding the information for months, allowing possibly ineligible players to play for the entire season and "falsely attest[ing] that he reported to the institution any knowledge of NCAA violations" when he signed a compliance form last September.
So the other shoe falls, and the shoe is a bomb. Collateral damage TBA. (Quoted directly from “NCAA Formally Charges Jim Tressel With Lies, Coverup of OSU Viloations” By Matt Hinton April 25, 2011)
Right now, the victims of Madoff's alleged crime are in a very strange place. They still have their big homes. At least for now, the furniture is still polished, the Lexuses are quietly garaged, and the people still stand — except for poor M. Villehuchet, who last week in
slit his wrists. But underneath these material reminders of a former life there is nothing — or very little. New York
The financial piers supporting lifetimes of accumulated wealth have simply vanished. This week, people everywhere are preparing to celebrate the New Year, while Madoff's victims are looking over their bank statements and credit card bills, asking themselves one question: How long can we hang on?
As one of the taken, I get calls daily from those who have lost their financial lifeline due to this mess. This wasn't a slow-fade-to-ruin crime, but a flip-the-switch-to-poverty crime, and many are now in an adrenal-driven shock stage of having no money — at all — in the bank. The ruin is especially tragic among retirees hit by this pre-holiday bomb. (Quoted directly from “Madoff’s Victims: Finding Meaning in the Devastation” by Robert Chew December 30, 2008)
FOLEY, Ala. — Allen Kruse tenderly kissed his wife goodbye just after sunrise Wednesday and headed to the docks in Gulf Shores, Ala., where his boat, The Rookie, was moored.
A charter boat captain for 25 years, Kruse had signed on as a BP contractor to spot oil, deploy boom and eventually learn how to skim oil. His business had come to a screeching halt after the April 20 oil spill.
About an hour later, Kruse was dead. He was 55, the father of 11- and 12-year-old boys, Cory and Ryan, and daughter Kelli, 26.
About 7 a.m., after a BP training meeting, he climbed into the wheelhouse of his 46-foot charter boat and ended his worry, his frustration and his anger with a single bullet to the head.
"Nothing was easy working with BP. Everything was hard, and it consumed him. He wasn't crazy," said his wife,
, 41, sitting outside the couple's home in Foley on Thursday. Tracy
"He'd been a charter boat captain for 25 years, and all of the sudden he had people barking orders at him who didn't know how to tie up a boat to a pier. I think he thought, 'I've got to get out of this. I can't take it.' "
The spill also left Kruse emotionally devastated. It robbed him of his passion for taking customers out to the Gulf to fish for red snapper and grouper, his wife said.
"Our whole lives surround this, this oil, everything is oil," he told her a few days ago.
(Quoted directly from “Boat Captain Commits Suicide After BP Training Meeting” by Brian Kelly June 26, 2010)
What do these three stories have in common? Each one of these three stories has an opportunity for someone to put their trust, hope, and future into something short-term and earthly—sports, finances, and work.
My impressionable childhood occurred during the early to mid 1980’s. I grew up in
Ohio watching and listening to all things , Cleveland Browns, and Cincinnati Reds. I loved baseball. I remember going to the games and getting their early enough to watch batting practice and trying to get autographs and foul balls. One time it was free poster day for the first so many thousand people. Of course we got there early enough to get one. There was a 6x12” metal sign above the dugout that said “No autographs during the game.” I pushed my poster out at anyone who walked close enough for me to beg an autograph from. Unfortunately, I accidentally hit the sign with my poster and knocked the sign off and cut should-be Hall of Famer Davey Concepcion’s face, to which he said, “Watch it, kid.” I did get an autograph, but it was Ted Powers and then owner Marge Schott. Ohio State
But the poster was a poster commemorating one of my heroes breaking the all-time hit record. Pete Rose was one of the greatest baseball players who ever played the game. When I was a kid he was the last player/manager, which meant he took on all of the responsibilities of a manager but could still put himself in the game whenever he felt like it. He ended his career with 4,256 hits. I remember walking to the playground with my dad one time. I don’t remember the topic but the lesson was nobody is perfect. That perplexed me, and I looked up to him all confused and asked, “Even Pete Rose?” Dad chuckled and said, “Even Pete Rose.” I also remember asking dad if he would sign Pete Rose’s name on my softball. He said “No.”
Many of you already know what happened in Pete Rose’s life, but for those of you who don’t, he is one of the few players who have been banned for life from the game of baseball. The news that Pete Rose bet on baseball confused me as a little kid. All I knew was that my childhood hero was now being disgraced in every newspaper, and radio and television sports program. Over the years, in an effort to get admitted into the Hall of Fame, Rose admitted to more and more, revealing the depth of his gambling depravity. To me an icon was fallen and my childhood innocence was lost forever.
It doesn’t matter who you are looking up to, or who or what you are putting your trust in. If that trust or admiration is not on God, you will eventually be disappointed. Republican or Democrat, rich or poor, white or black, your mom, your dad, your brother and sister, they all, whether they intend to or not will disappoint you. I can tell you story after story of missionaries and pastors having moral failures. It is frustrating, disheartening, and sickening, but there is one man who has never let me down.
Tonight, we’re going to continue our journey into the Sermon on the Mount, and dare to ask ourselves the question, “Can anyone live out the Sermon on the Mount in today’s world?” Open up your Bibles to Matthew 6:19. “Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.”
Of course this passage speaks of material possessions. If you own stock in Ford, you drive Fords. You study their quarterly reports. You hope their stock prices go up, and are upset when their prices go down. The more money you have invested in Ford, the more your life revolves around that company. What if a person invested that same money into a mission organization that brought the gospel to people? Wouldn’t that person be interested in how the missionaries were doing, what they were doing with their gifts, and how successful they were at winning people to Christ? Wouldn’t that person be even more excited knowing that God would never let them down or disappoint them?
But the passage deals with more than just finances, it also deals with our emotional treasures. We have absolutely no control over what another human being does, no matter how much we love them, admire them, or how committed we are to them. A child has no control over whether or not his father walks out on them. A husband cannot stop a wife who is determined to leave. A little boy cannot keep his favorite athlete from doing drugs. People will disappoint you. Businesses will act immorally and cause you financial loss.
So what is the solution? Never trust anyone or anything again? No, I’d rather be dead than to live like that. The only thing that will never disappoint you is God. So when we put someone or some company in a position where we will be overcome with grief when they disappoint us, we have intentionally or unintentionally put them in a position of a god—someplace I’m sure they would not have chosen for themselves. It’s ok to look up to people. It is not ok to idolize them. If Rebekah left me would I be crushed? Absolutely. The other day we were at the mall and she took Caleb to the bathroom while I bought lunch and secured a table for us. A long time later, Rebekah came out, grabbed her purse and said she had to buy Caleb new shorts because he had an accident. So I sat there for an even longer time. My mind began to wander and I thought, “What if she left me and this is how she planned her escape? How long do I wait before I go and look for her?” I would be crushed if she left, but I do not worship her, and she doesn’t worship me.
My encouragement for you is to put people in their proper place. Love them, and look up to them, but don’t worship them. Keep your treasures in heaven—both emotional and financial. Disappointments will happen but you will be able to overcome them.
The first step to keeping your treasure in heaven is accepting Christ. What most people search for in this world is security. This is the main reason people save and invest their money—so they can be secure if something bad happens. Christ is the ultimate insurance plan. Come what may on earth, He has you secure in heaven. As a believer in Christ, the absolute worst thing that could happen to me is that I die, and spend eternity in heaven with my savior. What about you? Do you have that assurance?