I try and limit my time on Facebook these days and put more effort into face-to-face time with those around me. This week I’m taking a little vacation in Montana and have found myself browsing facebook in the downtime. There’s a bit of a shock factor in the postings I read. I guess over the years, my thinking and understanding of the world as well as my beliefs have changed considerably from those I grew up with.
I want to quickly address one posting I saw that had an image of an American soldier on the left with the title “Deserves free health care” and a man climbing over a fence on the right (presumably crossing the southern U.S. border) with the title “Does not deserve free health care”. Upon seeing the posting, I commented my two-cents on the matter, but I feel compelled to speak on a little deeper level as I just can’t shake the word “deserve” from my mind.
I seem to run into this attitude of entitlement more often and I’m always thrown when it comes from a fellow Christian. I simply want to remind those of you with this attitude that it is not of your own works that you are saved. It is not of your own merit that you live in the United States. It is not of your good nature that you are blessed. If I were to simplify the matter, I would say it is nothing more than God’s grace and mercy that you have anything.
When Zacchaeus was confronted with the sovereign Lord, he began to give away his riches to those less fortunate. It was only after this promise to do so that Jesus said, “Today salvation has come to this house.” Yet we hoard our riches and blessings; patting ourselves on the back when we give to charity. Zacchaeus wasn’t saved by his works, but his newfound understanding of the nature of God and his willingness to submit himself thereof.
We don’t understand anything of how fortunate we are and how richly God has blessed us. If we did, we would be humbled at our undeserving, sinful selves and be compelled with compassion on those less fortunate. We will give an account of what we’ve done with what we have. It is God’s command that we take care of the homeless, fatherless, widows, orphans, poor, prisoners, sick, and dying. How dare we think us more deserving than another.
If we say we are the temple of the Holy Spirit, and the Spirit resides within, yet we lack compassion for those in need, how can this Spirit truly be living in us? For if the Spirit and Jesus are of the same God, how can they be in conflict? How can we, being children of God and followers of Jesus, be in conflict with the message of Jesus? Either we deceive ourselves and the Spirit does not reside in us, or we are so blinded by our greed that the truth is far from us.
Pray that God gives you wisdom so that you will not be deceived and that you will have discernment. If we only help those like ourselves, we’re no better [off] than the non-Christian.