I confess, one of my guilty pleasures for the past few years was watching The Good Wife every Sunday evening. The series ended last Spring 2016. So I was intrigued by the spin-off series The Good Fight. One of the key characters, Diane Lockhart, played by Christine Baranski, has always enjoyed a certain security as partner in the prestigious law firm that played a central role to the story of The Good Wife.
And so The Good Fight opens with Lockhart at the top of game. She is set to retire, has millions stashed away in retirement (or so she thought) and awaits the carefree life on a French villa she has in escrow. But then it all comes crashing down. The close friend investment banker with whom she entrusted her millions, gets arrested by the FBI. It is discovered that he created a ponzi scheme, bilking several people out of hard earned retirement savings. Not only that, Lockhart had so much faith in her friend that she recommended others to invest. Her accountant tells her the best she can do is to try to hang on to what she has, namely cancelling her retirement.
Well, I think we know what happens next. On top of losing millions of dollars, she seeks to hold on to the security of her partnership but to no avail. She has already signed an exit agreement and with the scandal of losses, they don’t want her anyway. She tries in vain to secure another partnership at firms that before would have turned over tables to have her on board. But this wretched event has left her tainted and spurned. She is left with no employment, no prospects, no savings and a scarred reputation.
All the while I’m watching this, I kept thinking about how grateful I was that my trust was not in riches. Though it was a fictional drama, it was not lost on me that this kind of thing happens on a regular basis. I was smugly satisfied that my security was not in the wealth of this world but in the riches of Christ. I was mindful of my recent reading in the book of Matthew 6:19-21;
Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
But then I thought,”You hypocrite!” I may not have millions or a fancy title of prestige that would garner me the kind of open doors that Lockhart once enjoyed. But if I’m really honest, I like a certain amount of earthly security. I like the security of knowing my bills will be paid and my job is not threatened. I like the satisfaction of being able to enjoy just a bit of discretionary income that allows me to indulge in activities I like. I know what its like to be unemployed and underemployed, scrimping and worrying about how costs will be covered. I hate tight budgets and scrambling to make ends meet. I hate the way it makes me feel to not have sufficient income to meet needs.
Moreover, I like the security of a good reputation. I like it when people think well of me. I like when I’m thriving in a position that earns me respect. I have definitely known the pain of the opposite–to feel undermined and devalued, and not recognized for my contributions. I know the sting of working beneath my resume and experience, wondering if I’ll ever get back to “where I belong.” Truthfully, I hate it. It makes me feel insignificant.
Because here’s the honest reality: the security I crave is not too different than that offered by millions and prestigious position of the Diane Lockharts of this world. It lures us into believing that having certain comforts and status symbols means we are valuable. If I’m not careful, that can be my treasure where moths and thieves can touch.
Christian, it’s real easy to allow the trappings of this world to dictate to us our stability, value and worth. We can claim our security in Christ all we want but the real tell is when the rubber meets the road, when we experience loss of financial stability, reputation, and a certain status that the world dictates means we we matter.
As Paul reminds us to be found in Christ is the greatest gain;
But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith–that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection of the dead. (Phil 3:7-10 ESV)
It’s why he exhorts those found in Christ to consider themselves as soldiers who do not get entangled with civilian pursuits (2 Tim. 2:4). Meaning, we cannot let the status symbols of this world tell us who we are but instead live as those whose security is in Christ because that is what anchors our life.
This is the real good fight, to know that it is precisely because of our position in Christ that we indeed do matter, in spite of whatever losses we experience. It’s a hard pill to swallow when those losses of stability occur. But as those united in Christ who provides us with the security of who we are, we must.
Photo: courtesy of CBS.com