Jack Welch and Jesus
Bible Text: John 3:5 | Speaker: Dr. Harold J. Sala | Series: Guidelines For Living | No one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. John 3:5
In an interview with Dan Rather on CBS 60 Minutes, Jack Welch, the former CEO of General Electric, was asked what was the most difficult question he was ever confronted with during his distinguished career. Welch thought for a moment and replied, “Do you think you will go to heaven when you die?” “And how did you answer that?” Rather inquired. Welch replied that he had really been a good person, had given quite a lot of money to charity and done a lot of good things for others during his influential years in the business world. (March 30, 2005).
Rather, of course, was satisfied with his answer, but I couldn’t help wondering how the conversation might have gone had Jesus Christ been the one asking the question. Yes, of course, this is conjecture, but I’m thinking it might have gone like this:
Jesus: “That’s well and good, Jack, but Paul said that salvation is by grace through faith and that it is not something we do, lest we could boast about it. Rather it is the sovereign gift of God.”
Welch: “No, I guess I wasn’t aware of that, but you have to admit, I did a lot of good things for lots of people in my day.”
Jesus: “Mr. Welch, this conversation reminds me of one that I had long ago with a man whose name was Nicodemus, and he had a lot of good things to his credit, too.”
Welch: “Yes, of course, and what did you tell him?”
Jesus: “I told him that he needed to be born again, that no one could see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.”
Welch: “You mean that business about God’s keeping the record book with two columns, one for good deeds and the other for not- so-good deeds, and when the one for good deeds outweighs the other, you get into heaven. You mean that isn’t the way it really is?”
Jesus: “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit.”
Welch: “I always thought that if you just did the best you could that would be enough. Yes, I admit that I haven’t been completely lily- white. There were a few things that I’d do differently if I could do it again, but on the whole, I’m heavy on the good good stuff.”
Jesus: “You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again’.” Welch: How can this be? What does born again mean?”
Jesus: “You are an outstanding leader, a former CEO of one of the world’s major corporations, and you do not understand these things?”
Welch: I guess not.”
Jesus: “Let me give it to you in a nutshell: “God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son” (John 3:16-18).
Question: Would Jesus really have said that to Jack Welch? His words are almost verbatim what he told Nicodemus. You can read it for yourself in John 3 of the New Testament
OK, if you stood at the door of God’s heaven and knocked and Peter met you at the door and asked, “Why should I let you in?” what would you say? That list of good deeds can never be long enough to move the door on the hinge, which is exactly why Jesus Christ came and gave His life for what the Bible calls sin.
Resource reading: John 3:1-18