“It’s not that we don’t care, we just know that the fight ain’t fair, so we keep on waiting (waiting) waiting on the world to change” – John Mayer, from waiting on the world to change.
It’s actually a catchy little tune, but the lyrics are utterly ridiculous. Really John? You’re going to be waiting for a while. If you’re looking for a fair fight, you chose the wrong planet. Time to either cowboy-up and fight against the odds, or write a song about something else. (OK, for the record, I really don’t have a problem with John Mayer – it’s just one of those quotes that is shocking in it’s lack of grasp or chutzpah.)
Tonight we take on the overwhelming sea of “do-gooders” and elitists who know how to take money from one and give it to another in the name of progress – but don’t know how to put their own skin in the game.
As the story goes, everybody wants to help little red hen eat the bread, but nobody wants to help him make the bread. It seems that almost everybody wants the same outcomes: justice, equality, peace, “judged not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character” (I paraphrased here, of course). We even want prosperity – no kidding – prosperity for everybody (plenty of food, clothes, and shelter). These are good things to desire. Honestly, we all want to live in that world. For the Christians, this is reminiscent of “Your kingdom come and Your will be done, ON EARTH as it is in heaven.” If God’s will were done on earth as in heaven, wouldn’t we live in a peaceful, just, and prosperous land?
What is more interesting to me is the number of folks out there who utterly lack the courage of their convictions. They want solutions to difficult social issues – but when it gets expensive (in time or money) they want somebody else to foot the bill. If your solution to poverty is “raise somebody else’s taxes and give the proceeds to the poor” then you don’t really care about the poor, you care about (1) feeling good about yourself and (2) keeping your money in the process. This is still a (mostly) free society – and you are free to bless, help, aid whoever you like.
David said “I’m not going to offer to God, my God, sacrifices that are no sacrifice” (2 Sam 24:24 … with apologies to the theologically stringent, I used the Message here). I suppose that is what America has become though. Fulton J. Sheen (who Billy Graham called the “greatest communicator of the twentieth century”) has a pretty good take-down of the whole thing in the first chapter of The Life of Christ. American’s believe, he says, in the cross-less Christ. They believe in a savior and redeemer – just not the suffering part … certainly not “taking up your cross”.
If you really want to help somebody, then go do it. Sitting back and talking about how “the government” ought to do it is frivolous. As we’ve said in the past, there is no “the government” – the only resources they have they get from us. Saying the government ought to solve (you name it) is the same as saying “my neighbor” ought to solve (you name it … again). Perhaps your neighbor should, but he’s “another man’s servant” not yours (Rom 14:4).
It feels a bit like children who, when instructed by their father to do something, immediately begin fretting about what the other kids are getting away with by not taking on the same task. That’s daddy’s job, not yours. (I’ve seen this one first hand on a number of occasions.)
It seems more like cowardice, not morality, to go about solving the world’s ills on somebody else’s dime. Your conscience may be pointed in the right direction, but your logic us utterly broken. Do you reckon we’ll get to the day of judgment and say “Lord, Lord, I supported government policies that took money from that fellow over there and gave it to the poor” and hear anything other than “yea verily, that fellow over there will be blessed for it”. (How much worse if it’s “Lord, Lord, I supported government policies that took money from that fellow over there and gave it to ME” – this is just not a good way to start that conversation.)
Before you start complaining, I am not a heartless monger. I absolutely support a liberal and flowing charitable enterprise to help those in need. My goodness, we are the wealthiest nation in the world (probably still), and spend enough on beverages in a day to feed whole families in other countries. We really ought to be leveraging that right now while we still have the leverage. But I do NOT support policies whereby the government forcibly takes the money and attempts to do some social good with it. (1) It must be voluntary (sacrificial) to have any meaning and (2) the government is largely a miserable failure at administrating anything helpful.
So be encouraged. God is able “to do far more abundantly than all we ask or think, according to the power at work within us” (Eph 3:20). We don’t have to fear failure – if we are striving to do the Lord’s will, He will meet us. We don’t have to be like those conscientious cowards who want good things, but utterly lack the power to bring hope and change.