Why do you live? The economy or God?

Why do you live? The economy or God?  Really, that question comes down to who’s your “god”?  Do you live for the god of money – the economy?  Or for the God of the Bible?  It’s a question that starts at the top – sort of.  With our president – Trump.  And now it’s filtering down through our governmental leaders.  Which brings in yet another “god” – the god of government.

Why do you live?  The economy or God?In spite of the fact that Trump calls himself the greatest president ever for Christians, there has to be a question as to who is his real “god”.  And now, enter Dan Patrick, Lt. Governor of Texas.  A Republican.  Let’s look at a news article on msn.com, titled Dan Patrick says he is willing to risk his own life to allow  [the] economy to resume.

After President Trump signaled his intent Monday to soon lift restrictions on public activity in the U.S., Texas Lt. Gov Dan Patrick said on Fox News he agrees with the president and would be willing to risk his own life to return to normal conditions.

Given that, who is Patrick’s “god”?  Granted, that’s a writer’s conclusion from what Patrick said.  So let’s see what his actual words were.

He says:

“No one reached out to me and said, as a senior citizen, are you willing to take a chance for your survival in exchange for keeping the America that all America loves for your children and grandchildren? And if that’s the exchange, I’m all in.”

“I just think there are lots of grandparents out there in this country like me — I have 6 grandchildren — that, what we all care about, and what we love more than anything are those children. And I want to live smart and see through this but I don’t want the whole country to be sacrificed.”

The god of the economy

Now there’s a mixed message.  Does he care about the American economy, his first statement?  Or the grandchildren, the second statement?  Or the American economy, his third statement?  That’s two for the economy and one for the kids.

In the middle of all that, he says what we love more than anything are those children.  If you’re not Christian, that’s not a surprising statement.  Well, not too surprising.  The thing is, it ignores the apparent reality that we’re seeing in countries like Italy.  Failing to deal with Covid-19 quickly means more people will die.  And while the children don’t die most of the time, their parents and grandparents will.  What kind of love is that?  Rich, but potentially orphaned?

The God of the Bible

For those of you who are Christians, is the economy really more important than the parents?  And the grandparents?  In other words, while a grandparent may be willing to risk their own lives for the financial well being of the grandchildren, is that what Jesus taught?

This may sound a bit odd at first, but do you remember the rich young ruler?  Yeah – the one who walked away from Jesus.  Here’s a refresher.

The Rich Ruler – Luke

18:18-30 pp — Mt 19:16-29; Mk 10:17-30

Lk 18:18 A certain ruler asked him, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
Lk 18:19 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. 20 You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery, do not murder, do not steal, do not give false testimony, honor your father and mother.’’”
Lk 18:21 “All these I have kept since I was a boy,” he said.
Lk 18:22 When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
Lk 18:23 When he heard this, he became very sad, because he was a man of great wealth. 24 Jesus looked at him and said, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God! 25 Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”
Lk 18:26 Those who heard this asked, “Who then can be saved?”
Lk 18:27 Jesus replied, “What is impossible with men is possible with God.”
Lk 18:28 Peter said to him, “We have left all we had to follow you!”
Lk 18:29 “I tell you the truth,” Jesus said to them, “no one who has left home or wife or brothers or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God 30 will fail to receive many times as much in this age and, in the age to come, eternal life.”

Is dying for the economy good for the grandchildren?

So, did you see the part I’m talking about? It’s:

no one who has left home or wife or brothers or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God will fail to receive many times as much in this age and, in the age to come, eternal life.

It’s about leaving children, or others, for the sake of the kingdom of God.  By the way, “left” doesn’t just mean walking away from.  Not even “just” dying.  There’s some meaning behind it.

863 ἀφίημι, ἐναφίημι [aphiemi /af·ee·ay·mee/] v. From 575 and hiemi (to send, an intens. form of eimi, to go); TDNT 1:509; TDNTA 88; GK 918 and 1889; 146 occurrences; AV translates as “leave” 52 times, “forgive” 47 times, “suffer” 14 times, “let” eight times, “forsake” six times, “let alone” six times, and translated miscellaneously 13 times. 1 to send away. 1A to bid going away or depart. 1A1 of a husband divorcing his wife. 1B to send forth, yield up, to expire. 1C to let go, let alone, let be. 1C1 to disregard. 1C2 to leave, not to discuss now, (a topic). 1C21 of teachers, writers and speakers. 1C3 to omit, neglect. 1D to let go, give up a debt, forgive, to remit. 1E to give up, keep no longer. 2 to permit, allow, not to hinder, to give up a thing to a person. 3 to leave, go way from one. 3A in order to go to another place. 3B to depart from any one. 3C to depart from one and leave him to himself so that all mutual claims are abandoned. 3D to desert wrongfully. 3E to go away leaving something behind. 3F to leave one by not taking him as a companion. 3G to leave on dying, leave behind one. 3H to leave so that what is left may remain, leave remaining. 3I abandon, leave destitute.  [1]Strong, J. (1995). Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon. Woodside Bible Fellowship.

Now, for us Americans, we learn that pretty much everything has one best meaning.  Of course, that means we can ignore the rest of them.  Among many problems with that kind of thinking is one really big one.  That’s not the way the folks Jesus spoke to did things.  They looked at all the possibilities, only ruling out the ones that couldn’t possibly be correct.  Their objective was to not put God in a box and limit Him to their one best meaning.

Therefore, that means we should include things like to desert wrongfully and leave destitute.  Kind of strong wording, isn’t it?  But that doesn’t make it incorrect.  Here’s why.

desert wrongfully

Remember that part about for the sake of the kingdom of God?  I hardly think Jesus considered the economy to be something that’s for the sake of the Kingdom of God.  After all, Jesus gave us the Lord’s prayer.  Oh – and the words just before the prayer.  Words we maybe tend to forget?

Prayer – Matthew

Mt 6:5 “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. 6 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. 7 And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

Mt 6:9 “This, then, is how you should pray:
“ ‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,

Mt 6:10 your kingdom come,
your will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.

Mt 6:11 Give us today our daily bread.

Mt 6:12 Forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.

Mt 6:13 And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.’ 14 For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”

for your Father knows what you need before you ask him

Yes – if God already knows what we need, do we really need to jeopardize lives in order to keep the economy that’ll make Trump happy?  Or should we also keep in mind that as Christians, we pray Mt 6:11 Give us today our daily bread?

Maybe we don’t get what we want, but we get what we need.  How we react to that says a lot about who our god is.  Do we worship the God of the Bible?  Or the god of the economy?

leave destitute

Really?  Dying for the economy leaves children and grandchildren destitute?  Well, yes it could.  We already looked at the reality of going back to work early makes the parents more likely to die of the virus.

Remember the Great Commission?  Here it is, just in case you need it.

The Great Commission

Mt 28:16 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came to them and said,All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Children and grandchildren are among those for whom we should do the Great Commission.  It’s not just something for people in other countries.  It’s for our loved ones as well.  We tend to ignore parts of the Great Commission, but there’s more to it than just baptizing them.  Jesus also said, teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.  Question: if the grandparents and parents are dead, who’s going to do that?  Answer:  whoever they happen to get put with in the great american system.  Do we really think that’s not possibly going to result in leaving those grandchildren spiritually destitute?

Conclusion – Why do you live? The economy or God?

We’ve really got to get beyond living for the moment.  Living for the house and the picket fence.  Living for the fat paycheck to provide us with nice things.  Or, as Jesus put it:

Treasures in Heaven

6:22, 23 pp — Lk 11:34-36

Mt 6:19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Mt 6:22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. 23 But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!

Mt 6:24 “No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.”

As Christians, God should be our god.  Not money.  Not our job.  And not the government.  Or the economy.  God.


Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay


Footnotes

1Strong, J. (1995). Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon. Woodside Bible Fellowship.

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