Growing up, one of my favorite guitarist was Alvin Lee from Ten Years After. In a sense of his own bewilderment at the world. he penned a song entitled, "I'd Love To Change The World." In it, there are two verse, that although are probably 40-45 years old, reveal that things haven't changed much.
The first is, "Tax the rich to feed the poor until there are no rich no more." The "have-nots" continue to demand the same rewards as those who have taken risks, worked hard, worked smart, and God has blessed. Yes, those blessed by God have a responsibility before God to be good stewards of their wealth, but their responsibilities are to God --- not a government who mismanages it's own budget, and now looks for ever increasing revenues somewhere else. In addition, Scripture teaches that all men are equal under the law --- that doesn't speak to a right to income equality."
The chorus of the same song adds, "I'd love to change the word, but I don't know what to do --- so I'll leave it up to you." Ever felt like that? So much that needs to be changed --- so much that needs to be made right! Don't forget that we live in a fallen world where the effects of sin have damaged everything in God's creation --- including us. Sometimes this can become overwhelming can't it?
Jesus and the Apostle Paul have some advice for us:
Jesus reminded His disciples that "he poor would always be among us --- we will never rid the world of poverty before the return of Jesus.
The Apostle Paul also encouraged us "not to grow weary in well doing."
We can become overwhelmed at the unmet needs of the world to such a degree that we either: 1) live a life of false guilt because of what we have that others don't, 2) shut down and give up, or 3) become selfish and self-absorbed with no care about the plight of others.
But there's another way, a better way:
First, we learn to live a life of thankfulness for what God has "richly" provided for us to enjoy. It doesn't mean that we consume it all on ourselves --- we just abandoned false guilt.
Second,. we learn to live as stewards, realizing that all we have has been given to us from the hand of God --- it's God who blesses our hard work, our ingenuity, and our success. It also means that we need to realize that we have a responsibility before God in how we choose to manage and spend our God-Given resources. It means helping others wisely --- without enabling sinful behaviors and "co-dependency." It means not enabling but empowering others. E.g., Oxfam, a humanitarian organization has a motto that fits well, "If I give you a fish you'll eat for a day --- if I teach you how to fish you'll eat forever." By the way, Scripture teaches both workfare and welfare --- in that order. Remember, work was God's design before the fall and the curse --- it's designed for dignity and a blessing --- not a curse in itself.
Third, realize that God is God --- and we're not! Too often we try to play God in others lives. Rather, we need to point others to the Savior, offer opportunities --- and then respect their decisions. Tough to do when we think folks are headed for disaster and we want to "rescue" them. Some people will only learn by experiencing the consequences (and pain) of their own attitudes, choices and behaviors. AND REMEMBER --- Proverbs describes "a fool" as --- someone who will not listen, will not learn, will not change, and will not repent. AND, that if we rescue them from their folly, we'll just have to do it again.
A better way to live. Let me encourage us all to realize that we can't do it all, but we can do something. Lets learn to focus on what we can do --- and leave the rest with God. He alone has unlimited time, energy and resources. He simply asks us to do our best --- without enabling sinful behaviors in others (or ourselves) --- and trust Him for the rest.
We serve an All-wise, All-powerful and All-good God --- life is short --- and sin and neglect have serious consequences!
Be at peace!
Pastor Bob Morgan is the founding pastor of HCCF. His pastor's "heart-cry" is to see God glorified through the liberating power of the Gospel by leading people to freedom in Christ, and positive, biblical life-change.