Scripture reads that lessons were often taught in parables because people were unable to understand messages any other way. Think the prodigal son, mustard seed, and camel squeezing through the eye of a needle. Not familiar? A quick Google search will bring you up to speed.
-The Green Juice and Privileged Billionaire Parable - On a shopping excursion with her children, a mom parked her vehicle far away from other vehicles to prevent door dings and embrace walking a bit further as a way to get easy exercise. The vehicle was parked near a cart corral for ease of unloading her bounty. Upon exiting the vehicle, one of her children noticed that a large Naked brand Green juice had been left in one of the carts. It was the same Naked brand juice that was on the mom's grocery list. Without hesitation, the woman hoisted her young son into a cart and carted the naked juice into the store. Smiling, she bypassed the return line, walked over to the customer service desk and explained that the juice had been left in a parking lot cart, so she was turning it in just in case the purchaser returned to the store to claim it. The woman purchased her long list of items, including a Naked green juice. Although her children never questioned her action, she explained that 'someone would probably realize that they left the juice in the cart and return to the store to retrieve it. And when they did, the customer service attendant would know that they were telling the truth. They may not have enough money to buy another Naked juice. We are blessed and can buy our own Naked juice,' the woman finished. Similarly, while shopping in a clothing store, she would often encourage her children to hang up an item that had slipped from a hanger as one of their 'random acts of kindness' for the day. The children would often do this without prompting. The family's definition of integrity was simple: try to always do the right thing even when no one is watching.
Far away, in a gold plated penthouse, atop a major metropolis, lived a billionaire real estate mogul, business person and reality television star. Raised by a wealthy real estate tycoon, the father of 5 children by 3 different women, the billionaire openly cheated on his first wife, married his mistress, divorced her and married his third wife, an immigrant who managed to obtain a coveted green card based on her "special" modeling skills. Exceedingly wealthy, the billionaire boasted that he and his family had never lived in a property that did not bear his name. He owned commercial and residential real estate properties in the most expensive cities in the United States. He also owned golf course resorts and five star hotels. Active litigation confirmed that the billionaire had a history of repeatedly bullying small business owners and service providers by breaching contracts and paying a portion of what he owed for goods and services. Cocky and brazen, the billionaire knew that the small business owners did not have the resources to fight his vast legal machine. Far away from the billionaire's wealthy holdings, nestled in middle America, lived poor people who lost their jobs when the steel and auto manufacturing plants and coal mines that provided honest work for their families closed.
The billionaire's economic empire also included a clothing manufacturing business. With the poverty of middle America as the backdrop, the billionaire could have refurbished and retooled one of the many abandoned plants or factories in Youngstown, OH, Detroit or Flint Michigan, or a similarly depressed economic area in an effort to stimulate economic growth and provide jobs. Instead, the billionaire chose to have his apparel goods manufactured in China and India. Later, the billionaire ran for President of the United States of America by running on a platform to "make America great again" by promising to provide good paying jobs for hard working Americans.
Amid a cloud of horrific accusations, behavioral missteps, atrocities against women, scandals, and a chorus of respected leaders and politicians deeming him unfit to lead the nation, the billionaire won the election. In addition to staunch, die hard, right wing conservatives, polling data suggests that the billionaire's victory was attributed to a "strong" support base of poor, uneducated (mostly white) voters many of whom had not voted in years. The same disenfranchised people that he could have blessed (but did not) by building an apparel manufacturing factory in one of their economically depressed communities blessed the billionaire with the presidency by voting thru a smudged integrity prism. Throughout the campaign, the billionaire was questioned by his opponent, late night talk show hosts and political pundits, regarding his decision to manufacture his apparel line in China and not in the United States. The billionaire's response varied from dumbfounded smirks to "you have been in politics for over 30 years, why didn't you change the laws so I couldn't do what I did." When faced with the resources and ability to do the right thing and help "make America (or at least one economically depressed town in America) great again," he chose to place the Naked brand green juice in the trunk of his Rolls Royce limousine and drive away as the poor single mom returned to the store to retrieve her item.
A leader must do the right thing, even when no one is watching. It's called integrity. We must pray that the billionaire surrounds himself with fearless, erudite people who will tell the billionaire when his smudged integrity lens needs to be wiped clean. Voters must demand that their leader lead with 20-20 vision and if he does not, they must polish their integrity prism before casting their ballot in 2020. God, please bless America.