I am not an eavesdropper by nature, but there are times when people have loud conversations that make their way to my ears. You can learn a lot about a person’s presuppositions based on the topics they discuss and concerns they raise.
Recently I overheard two women, most definitely in their late sixties, discussing an upcoming meeting where their city councilman would be in attendance. They were adamant that they wanted him to pay attention to the plights of seniors in their community. One commented, “The city must do something about seniors who are living only on their Social Security. I mean, do you know that many don’t have enough money for food. Because they spend what money they have to feed their pets, they don’t have enough to eat well. We must get the city to do something about this!” The other woman whole-heartedly agreed and added, “We must think globally and act locally!”
Both of these women were well enough off to have a membership in the same athletic club to which I belong. Based on their attire, they didn’t appear to be shopping at thrift stores. Why do I note this? Because neither mentioned offering a personal helping hand to just one of these “seniors” who were in such bad straits. Their commitment was to have “the government” to do something about it.
I have overheard similar conversations from another demographic—college students and graduates paying off expensive student loans. They believe the government should intervene and assist the plight of young people who cannot fund their education or have racked up excessive debt. They want solutions just as long as someone else foots the bill.
This this sort of thinking typifies those who are self-interested rather than God-interested. Instead of learning and applying what God’s Word says about the poor, infirmed, or those struggling with prior bad decisions, various groups within the culture want solutions financed from other people’s pockets. Is it any wonder why politicians earn votes when they promise self-interested people solutions that will not cost them a penny?
Christian charity and assistance should come from our own personal resources: our time, money, and efforts. True, we cannot solve all the problems we observe in life, but we can take a stab at helping those in need that we encounter, using God’s Word as the basis for our actions. We can address the particular needs we see and, in the process, advance the idea to those we help that they, too, need to be God-interested and not self-interested.
James 1:27 tells us: Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
The latter part of this verse tells us not to be polluted by the world. Could it be that when we lobby for the state (or other people) to solve the problems we see, rather than address them ourselves, we have become polluted by the self-interest of the world?