Exact Change pt.5 – “Go Global”
ex·act (ig-zakt) v. to call for, demand, or require.
change (cheynj) n. a transformation or modification; alteration.
Isn’t the English language funny? I love it. Words that sound the same, or are even spelled the same, can mean different things, and can sometimes be used as nouns or verbs or adjectives, etc. This allows for the existence of playful puns and wonderful wordplay, the meat and potatoes of Moth & Ethan strips. At the same time, this causes it to be a difficult language to learn, let alone translate accurately for a broad audience.
What adds to the confusion even more is that every single person in the world, who is capable of communication, interprets everything through his or her own unique filter. They bring to the place of understanding, not just their knowledge or education, but also their discernment, personality, historic and ethnic background, emotional baggage, and simply their mood at any given moment. Two people can listen to the exact same phase and take away two completely different meanings. Multiply this by hundreds, thousands, millions, or billions, and you’ve basically got the Tower of Babel all over again. It’s amazing and frustrating at the same time.
So what’s my point? My point is that exacting change does not look the same for everyone. Four years ago, a media darling from Illinois was hired for the most influential job on the planet by running on a campaign of “Change”. People were ready for it and he knew what they wanted to hear. Most voters knew nothing about him, but he was in the right place at the right time, and nothing else mattered.
Today we know better. Today we know where he comes from and whom he emulates. We know he has no regard for the sanctity of human life. We know he has no concept of true social justice. We’ve seen what his idea of change looks like, and it is frightening.
Does this mean I support his opposition this election year? No. I am just as wary of a slick business-savvy man who has been whole-heartedly duped by an obviously false religion. However, I do know that his monetary wealth gives me very little concern. Why? Because there always has been and always will be a gap between the rich and the poor. No form of government or socio-economic system has been able to bridge it yet. Even if The Church was doing all that is is supposed to do, there would still be that rift in society. Even Jesus admitted that “the poor you will always have with you” (Mark 14:7). It may not be right or fair or something we even want to understand, but let’s not act like it is a new problem that can be easily solved, especially without getting to the roots of the issues.
Now I have a confession to make. I don’t vote. I know that makes me a terrible citizen, a rotten patriot, and an ungrateful human being. I also know that there are plenty of other “rights” that I choose not to take advantage of. Just because we have the right to do something, doesn’t mean that we are obligated or even have the responsibility to do it.
I further know that we are only responsible for the decisions that we make, and what’s more, we will be held accountable for those decisions and affiliations that we adhere to, despite our petty justifications. Is it worth it? Is it worth it to put all your hopes and expectations for the future on one person, who you don’t know and could never begin to discern where their heart is? Is it worth it to lambaste an opponent and broadcast their faults on the social networking site of your choice at the risk of driving a wedge between yourself and anyone who holds a different view? Is it worth it to lose all credibility, tarnish your testimony, and pigeonhole yourself with the extreme wing over a political party affiliation? Is it worth it when you look ahead in time and picture yourself before the Judgment Seat of Christ, naked and prostrate, with no excuses to hold on to?
When you go to the polls, will you “chose the lesser of two evils” or “cover your eyes and hold your nose”? Guess what. The lesser of two evils is still evil, and going in half-cocked and largely uninformed is as bad as making an informed decision for the wrong choice. Or are you the kind to vote quietly, then leave and sound off for the next four years about how you were right all along? I hope that you are the one who will be praying constantly that God will grant mercy on our fallen world until He comes again, and trust that He is in control, regardless of the outcome.
Take a look at this passage. Here Jesus is being questioned by spies from the local religious leaders who were trying to entrap him:
“Is it right for us to pay taxes to Caesar or not?”
He saw through their duplicity and said to them, “Show me a denarius. Whose image and inscription are on it?”
“Caesar’s,” they replied.
He said to them, “Then give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.” – Luke 20:22-25 (NIV)
“Give to God what is God’s.” What is “God’s”? Um… everything. I was going to say “everything else”, but that’s not even true. Everything. All of it. Even what we give to the government. It’s still God’s. He is still on the Throne. He is still in charge. He is still the ruler over all. He still sees what we cannot, and may never see. He still cares for us. We are precious to Him. The candidates are precious to Him. We all break His heart when we make bad decisions, but He still calls us unto Himself. Will you acknowledge His authority over your life and your possessions? Will you live every day like He is the Lord of your existence?
The Great Commission tells us to “Go into all the world and preach the Gospel”. It doesn’t say, “Surround yourself with comforts and trust someone else to make good decisions for the benefit of the world.” Politicians can’t save the world. Government can’t save the world. They apparently can’t even do the jobs they were created to do. There is no hope for this world aside from Jesus, and it is our responsibility to proclaim that.
I’m not telling you not to vote. By all means, obey your convictions. But don’t turn a blind eye to facts, and don’t allow pride to creep in and sway you. Don’t put so much value and emphasis on temporal national citizenship that you lose sight of your eternal heavenly citizenship (Philippians 3:20).
Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience.This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor. – Romans 13:1-7 (NIV)