By Lonnie Wilkey
Editor, Baptist and Reflector
Last week, Tennessee and other states in the southeast faced a gas shortage due to a cyberattack on a pipeline. Hopefully, by the time you’re reading this, the issue has been corrected and gas is once again readily available at fuel pumps.
I know people who were in other parts of the state when the gas shortage became apparent and there were legitimate concerns they might not find enough gas to return home.
It’s just a guess on my part, but the shortage last week probably had more to do with greed and lack of common sense than it did the cyberattack.
We are living in such a “it’s all about me” culture and society that nobody or nothing else matters. That is why there was story after story of people flocking to gas stations and sitting in lines to fill their tanks when they probably had enough gas to last through the crisis. But what made matters even worse are the people who brought numerous gas cans to fill up.
There were some who even brought barrels in the back of their trucks to fill. Greed, put simply, is caring more about yourself than others.
This is greed at its worst. All it takes is the hint that there may be a shortage of something and people flock to hoard it, not thinking about what they are buying and won’t need for a while could be put to use right away by someone else who needs it just as badly as they do.
We saw it last year during COVID-19 when people could not find toilet paper, paper towels or disinfectant sprays because others stockpiled it unnecessarily. There are probably untold storage cabinets all across the country filled with rolls and rolls of toilet paper that were bought during the pandemic.
The same thing happened with gas last week.
Scripture has a lot to say about greed. Luke 12:15, HCSB, reminds us: “… Watch out and be on guard against all greed because one’s life is not in the abundance of his possessions.”
Back to the gas issue last week. It’s bad enough that people were driven by greed to hoard gas, but some of them displayed no common sense whatsoever. In my 63-plus years of life, I thought I could not be surprised by what people do anymore. I was wrong.
I heard about it, but I had to see it for myself, so I went online and found an article on The Atlanta Journal-Constitution website about people who were putting gas in plastic bags. I actually watched a video that another customer had filmed of a person doing this. It was ludicrous.
First of all, that gas was not going to remain in a plastic bag. Second of all, what would have happened if the individual was in an accident? Gas has been known to explode, especially if it comes in contact with a spark.
Some people have absolutely no common sense.
It’s so bad that the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Administration, had to release this statement: “We know this sounds simple, but when people get desperate they stop thinking clearly. They take risks that can have deadly consequences. If you know someone who is thinking about bringing a container not meant for fuel to get gas, please let them know it’s dangerous.”
The Bible talks mostly about wisdom and discernment but some translations use the phrase, common sense.
Proverbs 8:5, HCSB, states: Learn to be shrewd, you who are inexperienced; develop common sense, you who are foolish.” The website, www.gotquestions.org, defines common sense as “sound judgment in practical matters.”
The website also notes: “Biblically, common sense can be thought of as a combination of wisdom and discretion (Proverbs 3:21, 8:12-14). Wisdom is knowing what to do; discretion is knowing when and where to do it.”
Our world desperately needs less greed and more common sense. My prayer and desire is that Christians will lead the way and be an example of both. B&R