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GM and Us

For most of my life, GM has been a big part of our local economy and identity. When traveling outside of the U.S. I often explain that my home is in Grand Rapids, Michigan about 150 miles from Detroit.

So when General Motors, became the second-largest bankruptcy in history, it was a sad day for our community and state. For 77 years the company had been a global sales leader. It manufactures cars and trucks in 34 countries, employing 244,500 employees and selling and servicing cars in 140 countries.

In filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection the company that had been the worlds largest automaker reported 82.29 billion in assets and $172.81 billion in debt.

On Monday of this week, the headlines of the Wall Street Journal announced,”GM Collapses Into Government’s Arms.”

It’s not as if GM’s failure was a surprise. We’ve all seen this coming. Yet today at coffee tables and water coolers across the region people will be talking about the past and future of this once proud giant, whether bankruptcy was the best way to go, whether government control is unAmerican, and who’s  to blame.

Seems to me that, in many ways, GM is a picture of our own lives. Her short sightedness is a picture of our own self-deception. Her collapse into government arms is a picture of us falling helplessly into the arms of our God.

Whether it will work for General Motors is yet to be seen. What many of us do know is that admitting our spiritual bankruptcy at the foot of an executioner’s cross, remains the best decision we ever made.

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27 Responses to “GM and Us”

  1. bretnb says:

    I guess the next to last thought were we collapse in to Gods arms is a a good way to put it.

    If I were to put my thoughts here on how I feel about the unions here I might be baned for ever here on this blog.

    But I know that no matter how bad I am God is willing to forgive me and comfort me.

  2. SFDBWV says:

    Mart I am very amused at the segue of General Motors problems and our need for Christ. This is quite a stretch to compare God’s loving arms to our government.

    GM’s problems reach far into American homes and communities. I am very saddened that so many people’s lives are being uprooted and their sense of security being challanged.

    There are two distinct subjects here to discuss. But I think the bigger subject is what do we build our lives on? Where is the foundation of our security?

    If we are content by landing a job with a big company, and feeling as though we are now set for life. We have based our security on “sinking sand”.

    If we base ourselves in Christ. No matter where life takes us, our security is based on the “Solid Rock” of faith in God.

    Christian people look to God for help and safety. When the worlds answers can’t help the non Christian. Some turn to religion others just get angry. In a way it is the seperation of hearts. Like Jesus taught concerning the wheat and the chaff.

    GM and Chrysler took bailout money and are now sunk. Ford did not and their sales are increasing. I think GM and Chrysler made the wrong deal.

    I pray for thoes who have not yet made the decision for Christ to make the right deal and choose Jesus the Christ over all this world offers.

  3. mtman says:

    I agree with bretnb. To express what I feel for unions would get me banned and I would be confessing my sins for weeks on expressing that sentiment.
    I don’t quite believe the analogy is on equal footing. To rest in God’s arms is a known safe place but to rest on the government is in my opinion like the fellow who fell over the cliff and caught the branch that was barely holding in the cliff. He yelled for help and heard God’s voice say, let go and I’ll catch you. He yelled again and asked if anyone else was up there.
    Our government is not able to look after itself due to greed, corruption, and endless spending of our money and our children’s money. Not to mention meddling in our private affairs. How safe is it to trust them? I’d be yelling for some other help too if I were GM.
    Government did not bail out GM because of any love for them but to protect the shaky economy and protect themselves. Remember the saying how goes GM, how goes the country. The current administration will for sure be blamed but any administration would have done the exact same.
    For me I will trust in God and not our Government. I have no doubt who I would turn to in any crisis and it wouldn’t be the government.
    If they just took all the earmarks in bills they could have bought GM outright and made it a government motors car manufacture project. But then we wouldn’t have bridges to no where, opera halls named after senators, and so many other needed projects.
    No, I’ll trust a proven source and not our government. I will never bend a knee to GM or government. I know who to turn to in good and bad times and they aren’t on the short list.
    So to fall into the arms of Government for GM is to me like falling on your sword. To fall in God’s arms is to keep your soul safe and know regardless of what may happen he will be with you through it. If this doesn’t work see how fast the government pulls the plug on GM and who they will blame. Not the unions for sure to who they owe their election and where they get large campaign contributions. I come from Lansing where there is a huge assembly plant. I saw first hand how unions manipulated and work, and the increase in cars that followed. Nope, I am one who knows whose arms to fall into.

  4. Loretta Beavis says:

    I am moved by the sentence “We’ve all seen this coming.” It is true for both our own lives and this once compassionate Country. Add to that, this lost and dying world.

    If we’ve all seen it coming-what happened? I believe it’s apathy. My ancient, college days Webster’s (1970) defined it as 1. lack of emotion 2. lack of interest; listless condition, unconern, indifference.

    What might be the cause of apathy in our country and our hearts that results in bankruptcy? I propose, in both instances, we have left our first love. In Revelation 2:4 Jesus said to the church of Ephesus “I have this against you, that your have left your first love.” (NKJ)

    Few Americans have love or interest in preserving what was our democracy. Since unions have been mentioned, I use them as an example. Union members (I’ve been in a few) have become indifferent to the necessity of preserving the entity that feeds them, hence greed, anger and weak men render them useless.

    A population explosion of spiritually listless people are experiencing their own personal bankruptcy-too many expecting to get a bailout from violence, addictions, denial. Why not fall into the arms of a loving God or return to Him?

    Praise God that He has the true and perfect answer; His arm is not too short to save and He desires that none should perish and that because He is not a man, He cannot lie. The governments offer no such protection.

    I pray I said this accurately Lord!

  5. ttl7praz says:

    I dont think Mart was trying to equate the loving arms of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ to the arms of the government. Linear thinkers would probably have difficulty with this comparison. But us spacial thinkers immediately pick up on the analogy that Mart was trying to impart. It is similar to the many parables that Jesus used to convey teach and convey underlying messages; many which had no direct application in and of themselves. I, too, am glad that we who believe have the arms of Jesus to fall into time and time again and simply pray for those in our government who also are in need of a Savior whether they know it or not. The goverment, like computers, only work as well as the men (or women) who operate them and therefore are subject to flaws. Wow, I just made another analogy. Watch out linear thinkers!

  6. poohpity says:

    Blaming unions or anyone else for the corruption that is in our world today is like us blaming God for tempting us. My family has been members of I.B.E.W. for my whole life and it is not the union all in itself that has caused problems it is a matter of greed. We can blame any entity all we want but it is man’s decisions to get all they want as quickly as they want without thinking of the future that has caused problems. Rather than making things with high quality and endurance and a small profit, companies make things quickly, cheaply with big profits. The funny thing is we paid for it when we buy their stuff.

    When people get scared they run in any direction to find relief as soon as possible to overcome something that took a while to get there. I think people look to the Lord for the same thing, we get scared and think accepting Christ gives us an easy go of stuff when the opposite is true. Some blame God for all the things that go wrong in the world when it is man’s own selfish desires that cause it.

    It is so easy to blame and when we blame we do not take responsibility for our actions. All Americans have had a hand in the way that things are but it is easy to look at someone else to affix the responsibility. I think a better way of looking at all this is to see what little step we each can do to make things change.

  7. mtman says:

    Hmmmm, don’t we need linear thinkers along with spacial thinkers? What about all those thinkers in between? Didn’t our Lord make each one of us different and unique so that together with all our parts we could form a whole?
    I get the impression linear thinkers are considered something less than those broad expansive thinkers and may be somewhat inferior. I don’t think you need to be very intellectual to see the problems that descended upon GM and coupled with a government that has grown totally out of portion to its intended purpose.
    I have found some of the most profound thought comes from linear thinkers. I would not diminish them as sometimes they see the reality without having their head in the clouds.

  8. poohpity says:

    OK let us just start attacking each other again, that works!!!

  9. rokdude5 says:

    Though GM’s bankruptcy will be felt heavily in Michigan, no doubt in my mind it will be felt in those communities whose dealers will be closing and beyond our American borders. Bear in mind, that GM is not closing its door entirely but it will be reorganizing itself to be more financially sound.

    I can’t help think about greed whether it be GM’s management, shareholders, staff, dealers and even customers which contributes to its current predicaments. The parallelism that you portray here Mart, between GM’s bankruptcy and our own spiritual bankruptcy, is quite resonating.

    I know that I, too, collapse into God’s waiting arms when I find myself falling again to temptations. However is that what I’m willing to do the same regarding GM’s bankruptcy? Am I willing to forgive the greed, the mismanagement of GM and any other businesses? Am I willing to reach for my wallet and say, “No problem. Here’s a few $ to help you out but don’t do that again?” To be honest, I’m really reluctant to do so but today’s posting begs a different attitude and response on my part.

  10. wretch-like-me says:

    Okay, Everyone calm down and take a breath.

    Sounds pretty raw out there. Obviously, Mart struck a blow to a sore wound.

    However, I have to agree with Steve. We all need to step back and follow the analogy that Mart began. The metaphor of ‘falling into the arms of the govt and falling into the arms of Jesus.’

    I try not to shake my head everytime I hear of another example of ‘leaven’ in the works. Sadly, ‘leaven’ is all around us and without Christ, it will corrupt the whole mix. Why are we surprised??

    Why do we need Christ? …because we cant make it alone. When we place our ‘faith’ in men(women), we will be disappointed.

    Like Mark L, I look to the day when Our Saviour King rules!!! However, I try to live today as if He is already ruling in my life. Coming to that understanding is everything.


  11. dependent says:

    Well, from a 7-dimensional perspective, I think that… just kiddin’ folks.

    Mart’s comments about self-deception and short-sightedness ring true. It is so easy for us as individuals to allow past success, the inertia of established patterns, false hope, a sense of entitlement and misplaced trust steer us, drive us, blindly toward a life-crisis.

    I think the same thing happens to entire nations. We can assume success because of past success. We can become so ingrained in *the way* that things have been done that we miss *a better* course of action. Our tried and true methods eventually become ruts that keep us from course correction. We mistake the size and complexity of our institutions for a false sense of longevity. We mistake expertise with wisdom. A sense of entitlement creeps in to smother what was gratitude for blessings granted.

    And when the storms come (“In this world you will have tribulation.”), we find what ineed has been established on the rock of eternal Truth and what has been built on the shifting sands of this temporal world.

    It is my prayer that the people of God will find occasion to hide themselves safely in the “cleft of the Rock”, seeking comfort and wisdom, as the Lord of the ages allows those things that seemed so permanent to be shaken and tested. Any political ideology, any model of commerce, any system of governance, any empire or civilization cannot claim exemption from the judgements of a righteous creator and his plans and purposes for establishing his kingdom on earth as it is in heaven.

    It is up to the King’s ambassadors to be agents of his grace and mercy during troubled times, shining the light of the gospel in an invitation to accept their place within the cleft, sheltered from the storm.

  12. dependent says:

    It is said that “adversity introduces us to ourselves.”

    Who do we see during that stressful handshake?

  13. sjd says:

    Matthew 5:3
    3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

    It is only those that realize they are desperate in their lost condition, that can receive everything in Christ.

    I want to stay “fallen into” His arms, because apart from Him I can do nothing!

  14. Called2Serve says:

    Hello everyone! =]

    I was watching the hockey game last night (one of my guilty pleasures =]) and a commercial came on that was talking about our country’s economic situation.

    “How did we end up this way?” the man on the commercial said.

    I sat there, stunned for a moment, because, like some of you have stated above, I had seen this coming, as well. How could the world be so blind to what’s really going on?

    I think that this is an important thing to realize: the devil blinds people from seeing the truth, so they can believe his lies. The devil tells us to put all our trust in our president, but who is our president standing next to God? All of our trust should be in God, especially in times like these. We cannot make the mistake of falling off the straight path because we fear that God has forgotten us.

    I think that my conversation is getting a little off-topic here towards the end. =]

    Just my thoughts…

    -savannah =]

  15. OGramps says:

    Hello Everyone,

    Yes, as Mart has pointed out there are quite a few spiritual comparisons that can be seen from the collapse of GM.

    One of the things that comes to my mind is the statement by Jesus that when you see all of these things coming to pass “look up for your redemption draweth nigh”.

    As this world, civilization, continues down the pathway of history we are reminded that the problems are going to get more and more numerous and difficult. From the murder of a 5 year old child in Monroe Michigan to a President who appears to be embracing islaam the storm clouds are gathering.

    I remember the words of a preacher who said that when you apply pressure to something whatever is inside is sure to come out. If you squeeze a lemon you’ll get lemon juice. I believe that as the pressures of these last days increase we need to be very careful of what is being squeezed out of us.

    God Bless,

  16. su says:

    Those in God’s Household:
    Unions – what do I say? I’ve been a part of this approach to business, if it can be called that, I don’t know. More recently, I’ve heard of a book that The American Center for Law and Justice sponsored that was said to offer insight as to their intent (although I can’t find it right now on their site). However, I haven’t read it but hearing about it makes me think!

    Leaders – will be held accountable (just as was shared during the hot topic of abortion).

    Those in God’s Household – are we in His Will, being / doing as He calls us???!

    Hence, Individuals (if followers of Christ). While we started at the cross and may go back to it repeatedly, at some point, as Paul states, we need to move from milk to meat. It feels like it has taken me over 20 years and I’m not there yet. Thankfully, progress not perfection is a motto to consider.

    That’s what’s sad about GM. When there was talk (even in advertising) of forward impr/m/ovement, was it really truthful? Are they like the prodigal, realizing they were foolish, but why then go to an earthly father, who may not be able to help? Is it desperation or is there actual remorse that leads eventually to Good/His change and wisdom? They seem to revert to immature ways (perhaps, even more than when they were in their infancy). As the saying in recovery goes, doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results is insane/unhealthy. It is interesting what Steve says about Ford.

    GM is not an example for us to follow. As one person stated, greed is strong. Is that the problem here? What about within me?

    Here I am writing about unions, leaders, etc but ogramps summarizes my point well:

    Let us not lose track of a decent mission. Yes, keep going to Jesus as often as you need never giving up! But also learn, through Him, to move beyond that which burdens you. Work this out before God … and be the best you can in His eyes!

    Let us take heed to ourselves before the Lord Almighty, God of Israel …
    He is forgiving and loving. Revere Him! And walk in Him (drinking and eating of Him)!!!

  17. kaliko88 says:

    Actually, I don’t think the thought comparison is that far off. We do tend to rely on our own ideas, our own determinations of how to do things. And when it all collapses, hopefully we will fall into God’s hands, and let Him be the government of our lives. Matter of fact, that’s what’s coming soon, Jesus’ government. It’s a lesson I’m still learning. I keep trying to do it my way, and tripping. So the question really isn’t “How did I not see it coming?” as much as it is “When I’m going to learn better?”

  18. daisymarygoldr says:

    Can’t really comment on GM… as you said it is no big surprise… It is no big surprise that Communism has already failed and now…Capitalism is on the verge of bankruptcy.

    Every human-conceived philosophy and political and economic endeavor or institution… whether they are giant business organizations of corporate America or they are successful kingdoms, countries or civilizations of this world… history has proven time and again… the futility of man’s efforts. “No flesh can glory in God’s presence.”

    It is true, that for some of us who have learned not to trust the arm of flesh… admitting our spiritual bankruptcy before God is the best decision… it always leads to a win-win situation: On the one hand, it helps us receive the riches of Christ and on the other hand it helps us give away riches of Christ to others…

    Our beggarliness without Christ can be understood only when we encounter bankruptcy. As long as we feel secure about ourselves it only fills us with pride that blinds us to our desperate need for Christ.

    Without Christ… all human good works of love, grace, mercy, compassion and righteousness… are like filthy rags that speak of poverty and wretchedness. Hence Christ counsels us to come and buy from Him “gold tried by fire” that we may be rich. If we want to be rich… we have to buy… which means there is a price that has to be paid.

    What is the price? It is at the cost of emptying ourselves…Only the “poor in spirit” i.e. those who have emptied themselves of their “self- riches” … namely self-wisdom, self-trust, self- righteousness, self-love etc… are in a position to receive the riches of Christ.

    Our Lord Jesus Christ, though He was rich, yet for our sakes He became poor… He became completely bankrupt i.e. emptied Himself… so that we through His poverty might become rich.

    Likewise, we who have been enriched with all the rich treasures of belonging to Christ become spiritually bankrupt for the sake of the Gospel… so, though we are poor, yet we give spiritual riches to others. We own nothing, and yet we have everything. 2 Cor 6:9

    As children of God’s kingdom, may we always find ourselves as broken, emptied and bankrupt at the foot of His Cross… in order to be filled with the riches of His wisdom, knowledge, love, grace, mercy and faith!

  19. saled says:

    Daisymarygoldr, thank you for the explaination of “poor in spirit”. I’ve always wondered about the meaning of that phrase. Sometimes I’ve thought it might refer to mentally handicapped people (I work in a school, sometimes with special needs children). Your explaination helped expand on that for me. I think you’re right, we do have to be emptied of ourselves ( realize our state of bankruptcy) to
    receive the riches of Christ and enter the kingdom of God.

  20. cherielyn says:

    There is a GM plant in our state that closed a few months ago. The closing of the plant did not just affect the workers at that plant, but also many businesses that supplied parts and materials to the plant. Lots of trickle down unemployment.

    My daughter worked for a well known world-wide diversified technology company for 15 years. The company closed the division she worked at last August. She’s going to school to learn a new career. At 38 and just getting married for the first time, next month, she has had her qualms about what the future holds, but is relying heavily on God’s direction for her life.

    Relying on God: My son, Mike, had his surgery yesterday. The surgery, itself, went well. However, he had a problem in recovery – spent the rest of yesterday & today in ICU because he stopped breathing and had to be put on a ventilator. He was better later today and breathing on his own. Nursing staff assured me he was out of the woods and told me I should go home to get some rest.

    Thanks for all your prayers.

  21. poohpity says:

    Thank you cherielyn for keeping us posted and praise God for His care. Gr8granny had eye surgery on thursday too hope all went well.

  22. Rick123 says:

    The USA was built upon the Rock, Jesus Christ, and she has been a light unto the world. But if her house forgets Jesus, her fall will be great. For, her foundations will shake greatly, and will come crumbling to the ground.

    She must not touch the apple of God’s eye, because her house will be divided into two half’s, and a house divided against itself will not stand.

  23. su says:

    Rick123, what do you mean that ‘she must not touch the apple of God’s eye’? I think I get everything else you are saying and find it very interesting! We do need to watch and pray!!

  24. Rick123 says:

    su: If the USA or any nation divide God’s land, his eternal resting place(the throne of the Highest), she will be divided in parts. For Jerusalem will become a cup of trembling unto all the nations that come against her. Upon the wicked he shall rain snares, fire and brimstone, and an horrible tempest: [this shall be] the portion of their cup.

    Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee.

    And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.

  25. poohpity says:

    The whole earth was blessed through Israel by Jesus. We as believers are the apple of God’s eye. No land mass is any more Holy than any other. It is people that God is concerned about we are the only thing offered an eternal life.

  26. tandgmartin says:

    OT: It seems that no matter the subject, on the thumbs up/thumbs down feature it always seems there’s one less thumbs up than the total. Is there someone who just feels that there can’t be 100% and always votes thumbs down no matter what? Just wondering.

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