I shared the image online with a one-word caption. Not even a word, really. A number.
It was vaguebooking at its finest, bait, an indictment. The first comment was a single-word response - Argumentative - and I suppose it was, knowing my own thoughts.
Three giants, the tallest over 100 feet, boasting of something but I’m skeptical as to what. The cynic played with math, a dangerous proposition for a girl who lives among words not numbers–
Oh, the possibilities, the tangible good $700,000 could do…
- sponsor 128 children for Compassion International throughout their entire tenure in the program (presuming they start at 6 and age out at 18).
- help protect 23,333 vulnerable women through Samaritan’s Purse
- sponsor 116 entire projects for Charity Water
- change the world through Freeset USA’s Give to Grow Freedom projects for women at risk of sex trafficking
- cover the cost of 46,666 Shoe cutting parties (for ten) from Sole Hope
- support the rescue work of Exodus Road
I looked closer to home, what $700,000 could do in our hometown…
- that $700,000 would amplify to $7 million if given to the Chattanooga Area Food Bank
- it could fight childhood cancer through the Austin Hatcher Foundation or Jack’s Chattanoogins
- make an unimaginable difference for No Place Like Home Field
- provide a year of sleep for 383 people or 350,000 meals at the Chattanooga Rescue Mission.
And it would explode my Salvation Army virtual kettle.
When I pass under the shadow of those crosses, I shake my head and tsk judgment. I see pride and arrogance, a monument to man, Babel’s Tower. I grieve the greater good that could be accomplished by putting that money to better use. But…
What if I’m wrong?
What if those who argued its good are right?
What if the planners meant it when they said, “We believe the crosses will represent a bold reminder to all who pass by of Jesus’ sacrificial death for their sins” ? That their belief –
“…it is God’s intention to use these three crosses to make a bold statement locally, nationally and internationally of Christ’s sacrifice and God’s love for all mankind”
– is how some wayward soul interprets the installation?
Could it possibly be a lavish offering comparable to Mary’s anointing of Jesus? Judas was the one who judged her…
What if just one passer-by saw those mighty towers as a sign from God, the very thing for which they’d been begging of him. What if it somehow, supernaturally, staved off a divorce or suicidal thought? What if its hulking hushed message was the impetus to turn a life around?
What if – and I confess, this is a challenge for my judge-y heart to imagine - one person came to a saving faith in Christ by the witness of these crosses?
Is $700,000 too much to rescue a single soul from hell’s forever terror?
And then I looked in the mirror but I could barely see the dirt on my face or the sneer snaking my lips because of the lumber in my eyes….
All I could do was sit in the dark and contemplate – no, wrestle with - the intangible good $700,000 could bring.
I’m still conflicted.