A foundation established on biblical principles makes it possible to be productive, creative and prosperous. Material gain and success can contribute to unhealthy, selfish pursuits and the same expressions of pride that destroyed Israel numerous times on their journey recorded in the Old Testament. God warned them to be careful, even when becoming prosperous through obedience to His commands and blessings:
“When you have eaten and are satisfied, you shall bless the Lord your God for the good land which He has given you. Beware that you do not forget the Lord your God by not keeping His commandments and His ordinances… When you have eaten and are satisfied, and have built good houses and lived in them, and when your herds and your flocks multiply, and your silver and gold multiply, and all that you have multiplies, then your heart will become proud and you will forget the Lord your God who brought you out from the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery… Otherwise, you may say in your heart, ‘My power and the strength of my hand made me this wealth.’ But you shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who is giving you power to make wealth…” (Deuteronomy 8:10-14,17-18, NAS)
Learning to properly handle the blessings of freedom is a very real challenge and this typical tendency for arrogance prevalent in our day has been building for decades. This is a very important reason the Kingdom of God revealed by genuine love and grace must affect human character. Never take lightly the important role the church must fulfill on earth. Opportunities, success and prosperity are not the problem. Forsaking God and the failure to live under control and in a responsible manner is the culprit. Let us, as believers and caring Americans, not forsake and fault the very potential for being blessed and blessing others. Many people are placing fault in the wrong places and fighting the wrong enemies.
This week I talked with 35 national church leaders on two conference calls. I so respect these leaders that I openly invited any or all of them not only to seek to come together in the unity Jesus prayed for, but to also feel comfortable speaking words of correction or giving me counsel in any area. I openly acknowledge my desire to be redirected or made more effective by their wisdom.
As we discussed how to find common ground to address the serious challenges facing our nation, some asked that we seek God for very specific, meaningful direction. They wanted to know how to help focus the prayers of believers on specific issues, make wise suggestions and take positive action.
Jay Richards, gifted writer and economist, encouraged us all to read an article published in the Wall Street Journal that was written by one of those on the call – Dr. Richard Land, President of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission. Dr. Land emphasized the importance of anyone seeking political office not neglecting social issues while addressing the need for fiscal responsibility. He pointed out that social conservatives and fiscal conservatives must work together in order to lead us away from the catastrophic consequences of foolish decisions. I think everyone agreed with the need to recognize the importance of both groups.
I have sought diligently to bring these very issues to the attention of our readers. If you are concerned about the social issues of poverty, suffering, pressing needs, the right to life, marriage, family, and basic moral values, you must also become concerned about addressing current economic challenges. Very bad fiscal practices contribute to these very real problems.
If you want to alleviate suffering, practice charity, support meaningful outreaches, express compassion, provide for the needy, keep your job, and create opportunity while having protection and security, you must get prayerfully involved and demand fiscal accountability and necessary adjustments. Without immediate corrective measures, our national economy will collapse. You can clearly see the negative reaction to any attempt to deal with economic instability in Wisconsin, and likely to be witnessed in other states.
People filled with love and concern must provide shoulders for people to lean on, offer wise counsel and seek to bring people together to reason and not simply shout at each other. Confrontation without meaningful communication increases the divide and solves nothing. Obviously, church members must also make major adjustments in how they treat one another. We must be able to seek answers together, because we have been on our face before God asking Him for answers!
Without the restoration of sound economic principles, none of us will have the wherewithal to help anyone with their needs, because we will not be able to deal with our own. We cannot share what we do not have.
The same principles of freedom making it possible to be guilty of excess are the same ones enabling success. I was appalled at the high percentage of people negatively commenting on Dr. Land’s article online. They indicated social conservative views and basic morality do not matter and they openly mocked and made light of the very people that will be necessary and anxious to help correct economic problems through a return to fiscal responsibility.
Social ills help fuel the demand for assistance and attention. Lawlessness, increased crime, domestic violence, and the breakdown of family and community help drain our economy. Neither concerned group will see their dreams fulfilled, whether for personal gain and achievement or the ability to assist others, without cooperating for the common good.
Active participation is both a privilege and responsibility to choose wise leaders who will support sound policy and legislation in order for good government to become a reality. This is an absolute necessity and one of the ways the people of God’s Kingdom can leave His footprints on planet Earth, impacting our own great nation.
Surely there are wise, compassionate Christians seeking to help calm the storm in Wisconsin and other areas of discord. Of course, major media will be unlikely to air it because they are dedicated to adding fuel to the fire. They freely fan the flames of fury, intensifying the controversy! If Jesus Christ Himself were standing in the midst of the confusion with an aura of prevailing peace surrounding Him, I wonder if it would be ignored or totally misrepresented by the media.
In light of this reality, now is the time to fall on our knees before God and then stand on our feet before men. We must demonstrate the power of God’s transforming grace. All legitimate concerns and painful issues must be addressed with love and compassion. When we stand tall for His truth, we will see the transformation of people leading to the restoration of sound principles.
Yes, it is possible to rebuild from an ash heap resulting from destruction brought on by the intent of evil enemies or the collapse of freedom because of failure to correct our nation’s present direction both economically and socially. Some think this is what will be necessary for our nation and the church to turn back to God, and the signs of the times indicate this very likely possibility.
As for me, my wife, family and everyone I can communicate with, we are praying for the necessary awakening and the release of God’s Kingdom power, influence and love leading to positive changes. Without this influence, as mere men apart from God, we will never properly handle the responsibility success and real freedom make possible.
If these two people groups do not come together and work for sound fiscal policy and properly address the social ills, neither group will see their hopes, dreams and desires fulfilled. Our desire and ability to assist in situations like the one in Japan will be determined by how we respond to our own national challenges and make appropriate corrections. It is time to pray, then take action with boldness and love as exemplified by believers in the book of Acts.