Thankful For Donald Trump – Thanksgiving Series – Post 5

If you have read earlier posts, you might be tired of me saying that I made this list of things I was thankful for. As I went from the big picture things and shifted contexts (like “Conveniences I am thankful for …”), I eventually got a little sarcastic. If you know me, my cup of sarcasm probably “runneth over” more than my cup of a grateful heart. So to some extent, it’s no surprise that I wrote down “Donald Trump”.

While I don’t have the honor of knowing “The Donald”, he is among the personalities that has gone out of his way for you and me to get to know him … at least on some level. How accurate the image he projects of himself is something we’ll likely never really know. In all honesty, I hope he goes home to his penthouse and laughs at some of this because his lack of self-awareness is much scarier than any boardroom firing he’s televised.

So for the purposes of this post, I am critiquing my perceived caricature of Trump that I have observed. Trump is one of those guys that is hard to avoid. Who hasn’t seen at least one episode of The Apprentice? After the Sopranos concluded, there wasn’t much on Sunday nights. And then when it wasn’t football season, oh man, I was a helpless fool. Further, having lived the last 5 years 30 miles from Trump Towers, you couldn’t avoid the mention of the guy. I had to laugh the day it was “breaking news” when he issued the statement that he wouldn’t run for President. Not sure the expression “only in America …” could have handled this one.

Trump reminds me of some pastors – only he’s got better hair than some of them. I’m sure there is that wanna-be type in every sector and industry and maybe you have a few in mind. There are a couple of characteristics to identify them. One is that undeniably successful in some sense. Two, is that they are extremely diligent in their self-seeking interests. Three, they thrive on the idea that there is never enough power and glory to satisfy and so their personal “empire” must continue to expand. Otherwise they wouldn’t know what to do with themselves. And lastly, having stated somewhat positive attributes, they have significant flaws that those around them are well aware of but their egos have either numbed or killed their self-awareness. These flaws include arrogance, womanizing, blind greed and severe relational deficiencies to name a few.

If we are honest, there’s a bit of Trump in all of us. Believe me when I tell you how much I hated writing that sentence. But what I’ve described in the paragraph above are based on American virtues that I’ve tweaked. Are there not numerous examples throughout our society that state you can get away with anything as long as you are successful? It’s the football player that keeps winning, the movie-star that keeps selling in the box office, the rockstar that sells out arenas, the televangelist that makes men cry and women empty their pocketbooks. From the articulate politician to the beautiful fashion model, we learn that your level of “untouchability” is directly related to your success. Generally, these examples are immune to accountability from those that care about them because they perceive their advice-givers as people who don’t get it. And while they wouldn’t call themselves “gods”, they enjoy their “super-human” status that they feel they’ve achieved with their blood, sweat and tears.

For the Christian, we can learn a lot here, I know as leaders we certainly can and this is why I am thankful. When our ambitions mutate and become self-serving rather than Kingdom serving, we become Trump Wanna-Be’s. When we treat ministries like an empire, we don’t even look as good as those televangelists with their fancy suits and their names written in gold hanging over the stage. When we treat our blogs as divinely anointed pulpits and hit “publish” as if we just walked off Mount Sinai, we not only risk blasphemy, but even worse, we risk losing our spiritual self-awareness.

Let our prayer be similar to John the Baptist when he says that he must decrease so that He might increase. Let us confess our sins of our pride and may we seek the Lord’s will in the way we spend the time, talents and energy that He has graciously given us. Lastly, may we learn from the foolishness of people and pray that God might use His church to show the world a better Kingdom, a better way and a better life.