Peninsula Community Church
October 21, 2012
Moral Compass for the Voting Booth
Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.
We are hearing much rhetoric about finances and the economic stability of our nation and our families which make up this nation today. We hear about the coming financial cliff if Washington does not respond or react to the issues facing America. We hear of looming tax hikes as a result of the enactment of the Health Care law. We hear of business owners who are closing their doors because they can no longer afford to run their businesses. We hear of business men afraid to hire any new employees because they do not know the future costs associated with running their business as a result of health care costs and new regulations that are being passed every day. We are hearing that Social Security and Medicare may be bankrupt as early as 2034 as reported by the current President’s own cabinet if nothing is done. Unemployment continues to be too high. The total number of people unemployed remains at 23 million people. More people are on food stamps and government programs than ever before. We can add to this the reduction in household income and the rise in prices of food, utilities and gas. And interestingly enough, no one republican or democrat is denying or disputing these claims.
While politicians and economists have much to say about finances, the Bible also has a lot to say and what the Bible says can help to realign our compass so that it is pointed to true North. The Bible serves as a guideline for our living as it is the truth that should guide our moral compass.
Let me share a couple of areas where I see the Bible speaking to our finances.
First of all the Bible calls us to an eternal perspective in regard to our finances. Jesus recognized this truth when He stated that “where you heart is there your treasure will be also” (Matthew 6:19-21). What He meant here is that we must recognize that we must be good stewards of what we possess but we will not take any of our possessions with us. Solomon said this about a man’s finances “He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves wealth with his income; this also is vanity. When goods increase, they increase who eat them, and what advantage has their owner but to see them with his eyes” (Ecclesiastes 5:10-11)?
But when we have an eternal perspective in regard to our finances we will master our finances but we will be sure and not allow our finances to master us. We will not borrow money we cannot pay back. We will not make investments that our children have to repay. We will recognize how blessed we are and how much God has given us. As a result we will strive to honor God with our finances so that the Kingdom is expanded and grown. Our goal and desire is to make deposits in our heavenly bank where moth, rust and corruption cannot harm them.
The perspective of many in political office is an eternal one but usually is a short term vision that is clouded by the desire to be reelected and to get money pouring into their particular district. But our success as a nation cannot be measured in who gets elected but how we steward the resources and the blessings we have as a nation.
Secondly, we have lost our dependency on God. In the early days of America, story after story has been written about how the settlers to this great nation had to trust almighty God to provide and keep them. But in the early 1900’s there was a shift away a dependency on God to a dependency on government to provide our every need. One of the problems experienced by Americans is that they have borrowed money to live the American dream. America as a nation is no different we either borrow more money or the feds print more money. The problem with borrowing money is that according to scripture we become a slave to the one who holds our debt. Currently, we are nearly 16 trillion in debt and China and Japan holds the largest percentage of that debt. The problem with borrowing money from someone is that the relationship changes rather quickly.
One of the unintended outcomes of our nations move toward welfare is that it has created an entitlement program where men and woman become dependent on its resources for their survival. The fact is this is an issue of trust. Who will we trust to provide our needs? Will we trust God “Who will supply all of my needs in Christ Jesus” or will I trust the government to be my provider. Too many today are trusting the government today as their source of provision.
Thirdly, we have a misguided understanding of who we should help. Helping others in need is an individual responsibility not the governments. In many ways the church has fallen short in its role of providing care. It is interesting to note that the Scriptures have a lot to say about helping others but the emphasis is almost always on the widow and the orphan. Nowhere does scripture justify giving assistance to one is able and capable to work. We have become a lazy and entitlement oriented nation. If you don’t work you don’t eat. In fact scripture says that if you don’t work you don’t eat. 2 Thessalonians 3:10 For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat.
Let’s look at who we have been called to help from a biblical standpoint. First of the church is called to help the widows and orphans. On several occasions the New Testament points to the need to be sure that the widow and orphan are being cared for. We see this when the disciples ordained deacons to care for the widows who felt that their needs were going unattended. Acts 6:1; James 1:27; and 1 Timothy 5 are examples of this. Beyond that the Bible speaks to families helping families as noted by Deuteronomy 15:7-11.
This does not rule out helping others but the focus of the help was to be on those who could not help themselves. In today’s environment there is no balance in this. I can remember when I first moved to NY I was involved in a refugee resettlement program through our church organization. It was interesting that those families that we settled into a home and a job had a remarkable success at being assimilated into the culture but for some who could not find jobs they were forced onto welfare and the result is that many of them never fully acclimated into their surroundings because they were now depend on the government to provide for
Let me say this I am offended by some who would use the Bible to justify giving money to those who do not deserve and have the ability to work for themselves.
And finally, we lack an attitude of contentment and thankfulness. We have been deceived into thinking that the way to satisfy our desires is to borrow more and more money to get what we don’t need for our immediate survival. We have a false idea that borrowing more money and spending more is the way to achieve greatness. The problem is that we borrow more so that we end up spending more not to reduce our debt but to feel secure.
This attitude is at the basis of the entitlement society in which we live. We feel we are entitled to a free education, free phones, free medical, free college and so on and so forth. But the fact is nothing is free it will cost someone something along the way. But we are reaching a point where more people are taking benefits than those who are paying into the system and when that happens we are in trouble.
I recently talked with someone who was in the Navy who related a story to me of a friend of theirs who had been late to work so many times that he staged getting beat up to avoid the consequences of another tardiness. But, if that is not the end of the story, that person is filing a claim for disability from the Navy because they have a provision that if you received a concussion while in the service you are entitled for this benefit. He staged a fight, stated at the hospital that he had passed out, the doctors diagnosed him with a concussion and now he is applying for disability.
To get back to the verse we used this morning when all is said and done who do you trust to provide for you. Do you trust God? Have you given yourself fully to Him? If not you can today. Just this week I was reading a book about evangelistic preaching and the author of the text make a great statement. He stated “The Good News is not just about getting saved but it is about living the saved life.” So how is your trust level? The fact is no matter who is elected this fall they will disappoint and fail us. But the government is not our savior. The government is not the answer to all of our woes only God can be that.