Writer, Church leader, Eccentric Nut, Marketer

I'm Church Leader, Writer, Speaker, Marketer, Kindness Project Founder, Broadcaster and Superhero. But most important I'm a Husband, Father and a worshiper of Jesus.

6 June 2011

Why it's OUR job to take care of our neighbors... not JUST the government

Yesterday Rick Warren tweeted:

It got me thinking about how we think about governments, cities, The Church and how we should structure "care" for each other. Here's what my Facebook page shows about my "Philosophy" in life.

I think that BOTH faith and political structures are important factors in how nations are constructed... and HOPE (as well as trust as Psalms 146:3 says) needs to be reserved for higher places than the political realm. But it's in the political and economic realm where tangible, pragmatic management systems are created and played out. And HOW they are constructed either controls us or frees us.

One of the reasons I believe it's OUR job to take care of each other (not the government's) is the reason why Jesus didn't heal and feed everyone. He could have but Jesus knew that we NEEDED to be MOVED by compassion to meet the needs of our own neighbors. When we're moved by compassion into generous action... OUR hearts are changed. It's then change and an action that will be repeated over time... taking care of MANY needs.

The changing of OUR hearts to meet needs is as important if not more important than the need being met.

When we grudgingly or forcefully "give" through taxation, it's motivationally wrong and creates an unsustainable mindset and scenario that leads to continued poverty and national debt. You might say, "Well we HAVE to take care of the poor! We need programs! We NEED high taxes so the government can set up programs you heartless bastard!" I've been called that before and I'm sure I will again. It's all good. It's far from the truth. I believe in giving BEYOND our means. I've had accountants and financial planners tell me that I'm crazy how I structure my giving. But HOW and WHERE I give is VERY important to me. As Winston Churchill said:

You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life. -Churchill

But when you look at the life of Jesus, (who's NAME and FAME are my primary motivation for movement in life) he was more concerned with God being honored, and HIS Kingdom structure coming so that ALL could be free (rich and poor) than he was about taking care of every little need along his path throwing structural-caution to the wind. HOW things were done and motivated took precedence over "gettin' 'er done". In fact Matthew 26 tells this little beauty that includes some words that it's almost hard to believe that our often-skewed modern version of Jesus would say:

When Jesus was at Bethany, a guest of Simon the Leper, a woman came up to him as he was eating dinner and anointed him with a bottle of very expensive perfume. When the disciples saw what was happening, they were furious. "That's criminal! This could have been sold for a lot and the money handed out to the poor." When Jesus realized what was going on, he intervened. "Why are you giving this woman a hard time? She has just done something wonderfully significant for me. You will have the poor with you every day for the rest of your lives, but not me."

He's not saying DON'T take care of the poor. He's saying that HIS way and HIM being worshiped by where we put our money and passion is MORE important than meeting an immediate need. In fact it's in US meeting people's felt needs in HIS name as an act of worship that HIS love is communicated. Our bodies & lives are about more than food and clothes.

I'm not anti-tax or an extremist. In fact, I think we should LIKE and PRAYERFULLY pay our taxes as an act of intentional benevolence and service to one's country. It's Biblical to give (even taxes) with a right heart and sow seed intentionally and cheerfully! It can be done! It would change our attitude of blessing our government and leaders for the better as they work hard at doing GOOD in our nation.

I also believe very much in taking care of the needy. I even take heat from some for supporting government social programs. My wife was, and likely will again be, a social service worker. The sad part is that the programs are often very flawed. Some programs are so bogged down by red tape, lack of funds and politics that they have a structural inability to actually lead their "clients" to freedom. The workers are passionate, talented people who often burn out (I've seen it over and over) and quit because of how handcuffed they are. So they give up hope in
  1. The system (Bad)
  2. Helping people altogether (Worse)

Philosophically...there is a better way. Is the public mindset at the point yet where it could carry the burden? Nope... but that's OUR job as Christians. It is. The Church IS a missing factor in the equation. When The Church rises up and acts GENEROUSLY as it was designed to... it's a structural game changer. It's happened in cities around the world and it can happen here.

A micro scaled example in Brantford are organizations like Why Not City Missions, Crisis Pregnancy Center and the City's Out of the Cold Program. They do more to impact the marginalized in our city that almost anything. They do it on VERY little aside from donations. They do it in Jesus name for His fame. They impact GREATLY... and it's done with often volunteers who are being released into a legit ministry. Not to mention the sheer number of needs that are being met, real life relationships formed and Jesus (who we CAN Hope and Trust in) is involved.

The changing of OUR hearts to meet needs is as important if not more important than the need being met.

The government needs to create the scenario where our nation is strong and free so it's people can thrive... NOT play the savior. "Christ in ME is the hope of glory"

There is EXPONENTIAL power in the hearts of equipped, passionate men being moved into action. DC

1 comment:

Spicer said...

As in all things, it is a fine balance. There is a responsibility of the government, but it is ridiculous to assume they have a magic wand to make it all better. It is the responsibility of the community to make it a better and loving places for all those in it. I've stated, our goal should be to bring 'heaven' to Earth.

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