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.
Yesterday I was part of an email conversation that was discussing the coming collapse or correction to the market and how to prepare for it. The conversation brought me back to a verse I read last Saturday that just rose up from the page and I know the Lord wanted me to write about it. King Solomon wisely wrote:
“In the house of the righteous there is much treasure, but in the revenue of the wicked is trouble.” (Proverbs 15:6)
Our pastor Bro Dennis is beginning a men’s study on leadership. Men, if you are a member of Midway Baptist Church or live in the Florida Panhandle, please consider this an invitation to join us on Monday evenings from 6:00 – 7:30 (Bible Study begins at 6:30).
This past Tuesday our nation’s debt rose to 16 trillion dollars. I spell that out because I’m not really sure how many zeroes it takes to write it out numerically (I think it is 12). That comes out to over $53,000 owed by every man, woman, and child. Is debt immoral? It all depends on the purpose of the debt. If you are subsidizing sloth, then yes it is immoral:
“Go to the ant, you sluggard! Consider her ways and be wise, which, having no captain, overseer or ruler, provides her supplies in the summer, and gathers her food in the harvest. How long will you slumber, O sluggard? When will you rise from your sleep? A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep—so shall your poverty come on you like a prowler, and your need like an armed man.” (Proverbs 6:6-11)
In case you forgot, today is Tax Day and your taxes are due today. Karen and I paid ours Sunday night through the convenience of the internet. There are among some fringe “Christian” movements the idea that we do not have to pay our taxes because the federal government has moved beyond the original intent our Constitution and individual liberty. While the latter may be true, the former is counterintuitive to the argument. We get the government we deserve; we have the right to choose our rulers. So what about paying our taxes? You already know the answer because Jesus provides it:
“Then the Pharisees went and plotted how they might entangle Him in His talk. And they sent to Him their disciples with the Herodians, saying, ‘Teacher, we know that You are true, and teach the way of God in truth; nor do You care about anyone, for You do not regard the person of men. Tell us, therefore, what do You think? Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?’ But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, ‘Why do you test Me, you hypocrites? Show Me the tax money.’ So they brought Him a denarius. And He said to them, ‘Whose image and inscription is this?’ They said to Him, ‘Caesar’s.’ And He said to them, ‘Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.’ When they had heard these words, they marveled, and left Him and went their way.” (Matthew 22:15-22)
The next big fight in Congress is whether or not to raise the current debt ceiling. Supposedly, Capitol Hill and 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue—purportedly filled with self-avowed Christians—understand that this spending and debt accumulation cannot go on forever. Alas, right understanding does not always turn into right action, particularly not inside the Beltway.
If we have the Bible and endless commentaries, commentaries that are solid in their exegesis, then how is it that so many are led astray? How can we have a solid track record of Biblical Christianity where the truth has reigned and yet false teachers can rise up? How is it possible for a man such as Rob Bell to be the “hottest” preacher in America and to have a widely received blasphemous book? Because it is prophetic and the Apostle Peter warned us nearly two thousands years ago:
With the economy and various states working to get their budgets back on track, there is a long overdue look being given to the many entitlement programs at both the federal and state levels. We’ve just learned this week that 1 out of 3 Americans receive some type of federal payout through wages and salaries, Social Security, Medicare, and unemployment insurance. Over the coming months I will be launching a new entity that will address political and cultural issues through a Biblical lens because they are much too involved to cover in a few devotionals much less one.
As you know I have long proclaimed the need for pastors across America to preach God’s Word unapologetically and unashamedly. If we can find pastors willing to boldly preach the Word and comment on today’s societal ills, perhaps our county can be saved.
NOTE: Yesterday was my mother’s birthday, she would have been 79. As most of you know, yesterday I lost my dear friend Dino to cancer. I was going to tie the two into a devotional today, but felt lead to do something else. So in honor of Dino, who was a political junkie, and my mother, who always encouraged us to do our best, this morning’s devotional has a politico-socio theme.