Outside of Islam, the greatest threat to America is our national debt. The amount of money our government spends on trivial and unconstitutional entitlements is the product of a deep-seated malady. Americans have a stuff problem, otherwise known as materialism.
Of course, material goods on their own are not bad. Goods and services produced and provided for are needed for a society to flourish. It is the engine to a free economy. So I am not talking about the private sector when looking at our nation’s woes. I am talking about when government tries to pick winners and losers in a free market economy.
Politicians are able to entice voters’ support by promising them a free meal. What I mean is they appeal to our consumerism and tell us we deserve better things. I really don’t like the word deserve. I don’t like the word entitlement either. We deserve punishment and we receive mercy. We don’t deserve grace and yet God showers it upon us. We are entitled to nothing for which we don’t work, and yet the government operates differently.
This malady is caused by covetousness. Churches that preach a prosperity gospel perpetuate this stinking thinking. Instead of teaching parishioners to work hard, save money, and share with those in need, we’re told that we deserve the finer things in life. Again, material goods are not bad; it’s our view of them that can be harmful.
When the Apostle Paul was instructing his young son in the faith Timothy on how to conduct church business, he shared this about rich people:
“Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy. Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.” (1 Timothy 6:17-19)
Wealth is a wonderful blessing to those who achieve it. Wealth is needed to do the Lord’s work here on earth. Of course Jesus can do whatever is needed, however He has chosen to use His church to minister to its needs. He has also showed us how to use wealth to share the gospel by meeting the needs of people.
We not only use our blessings to help those in need who do not know the Lord Jesus Christ, but we are also exhorted to help those who are part of the body of Christ:
“Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.” (Galatians 6:10)
Long before the government stepped in to meet the needs of citizens, the church was at the forefront of helping its neighbors. We’ve somehow lost our way in that important mission field and much of that is because Christians are not tithing as they are commanded. If they were to do so, there would be more than enough money to tackle the issues of poverty, while still sharing the gospel. Furthermore, those in the ministry will not have to hold multiple jobs to make ends meet because the local church will supply a proper salary to its ministry staff:
“Let him who is taught the word share in all good things with him who teaches.” (Galatians 6:6)
Our nation’s woes can be overcome by the church. If we who call ourselves Christians will be good stewards of what God provides, not incurring gripping debt, willingly sharing with those in needs, then we can put the government out of the entitlement business.
This message is not just for those who are financially wealthy. It is for us who may wish to be, or desire the things only wealth can bring. Once more, these things are not bad, it is how we approach them on which I’m focusing. Commenting on Paul’s instructions in his first letter to Timothy, Warren Wiersbe writes:
“Riches can lure a person into a make-believe world of shallow pleasure. But riches plus God’s will can introduce a person to life that is real and ministry that is lasting.”
So let us each do a personal heart examination. Are we living beyond our means? Are we robbing God of what is His? Is our church lacking because I’m being stingy with what God has provided me, regardless its size?
Christians should not be looking to government for the answers to America’s problems. Christians should look within and around each other to deal locally with the needs amongst them. Imagine every church in every community across this great country doing that.
That would be something to behold…
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Copyright © 2016 David Jeffers