Matthew 23:12 (NASB)
“Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted.”
I John 3:17 (NASB)
“But whoever has the world’s goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him?”
“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”
I’ve had this thought that has kept returning to my brain over the past few days and just won’t leave me alone. It’s this: when we, the church, are more concerned about our position or rights than caring for those in need, we fail miserably. We end up looking like complete jack-wagons supporting vulgar orange clowns for president just because they promise to make us great again.
And that is a load of crap.
I see it a lot in the attitudes of my friends online. “Government welfare programs are bad because it’s not right to take money from those who have earned it and give it away to those who don’t work at all.” and “charity should be personal and voluntary, not government mandated.”
We neglect the Old Testament passages with specific commands about structuring society to take care of the less fortunate.
“And when ye reap the harvest of your land, thou shalt not make clean riddance of the corners of thy field when thou reapest, neither shalt thou gather any gleaning of thy harvest: thou shalt leave them unto the poor, and to the stranger: I am the LORD your God.”
(I use the King James for OT quotes because it makes them sound more Biblical).
Tell me, does that sounds optional? Do you think the Jew considered *any* of that stuff as optional?
Maybe the advice Jesus gave the rich young ruler to sell all he had and give it to the poor was more literal than we are comfortable with so we explain it away.
Even the disciples fell victim to the trap of power. It seemed that they were caught on more than one occasion bickering about which of them was the most important. Jesus’ words cut to their hearts. “The greatest among you will be your servant.”
This concept of American exceptionalism is diametrically opposed. The myth of the self made man that pulled himself up by his own bootstraps and deserves to hoard everything he has worked so hard for. “I got mine and you’d better go get yours.” seems to be our motto, but Jesus tells us differently.
James 1:27 (The Message)
“Anyone who sets himself up as “religious” by talking a good game is self-deceived. This kind of religion is hot air and only hot air. Real religion, the kind that passes muster before God the Father, is this: Reach out to the homeless and loveless in their plight, and guard against corruption from the godless world.”