If the Dream Fits … a Few More Thoughts

No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.” – Matt 6:24

I believe in the Biblical practice of tithing, bringing 10% of your, as the Bible calls it “increase” into the church. While it may not always have the same degree of meaning in every culture, it seems like the most basic of litmus tests for Christians in our society. Here is a simple test, 10%, to see which master has more sway in your life.

Now, I’m not a theologian and I don’t set doctrine. If your faith is different, so be it. Work out your own salvation (Phil 2:12).

A few posts ago we contrasted Martin Luther King Jr’s “I have a dream” speech and Al Sharpton’s recent remarks about the same. The post is here (https://bethsaidafigtree.wordpress.com/2010/06/04/if-the-dream-fits/) if you’d like to read it.

I’d like to point out a rather stark contrast between the statements. In MLK’s speech, the dream is “that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed. ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal.’” He goes on to detail what this might look like. Obviously the quote inside the quote comes from the Declaration of Independence, and is followed by “that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Dr. King is harking back to our founding documents, based on equality in the eyes of God. If I may take a little liberty here, I’d say that his dream is essentially the following: “We are created equal, and are equal in the eyes of God, and I would like for our citizens and our government to be submitted to this reality.”

We contrast this with Al Sharpton’s statement that “the dream was to make everything equal in everybody’s house.” In Al Sharpton’s world, disparity of economic condition is tantamount to inequality. Now, Al Sharpton is clearly not alone in his position, and the Bible has quite a bit to say about caring for the poor and needy. But in the context of “the dream,” Sharpton’s statement is basically that “we ought to all be equal in regards to money, and I would like for our citizens and our government to be submitted to this goal.”

It is, to my mind, a frightening contrast in light of Matthew 6:24. We should all be wary of the influence of money and wealth. When we are tempted to violate some directive of God for our lives because it will save us money, we are on a slippery slope. (Don’t lie to your apartment complex about having a pet just to save the deposit – God said not to bear false witness, money said hoard for yourself. Know who you serve.)

Isn’t economic equality a great goal? Isn’t it also a cheap substitute for equality? Do we rate a man’s value as a person by the wealth in his possession? We ought not. But this is required if we are to say that equality is more than freedom and rights but also implies economic good.

As for Al Sharpton, just like the rest of us, he too must work out his own salvation with fear and trembling.

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