You live in a three-bedroom house and use one of the bedrooms while the other two remain empty. You have another house in the country where you can go relax.
You drive one car while a second sits in your garage just in case you need it. Several big-screen televisions decorate your home. Your closet is full, and you own enough shoes for you and all your friends.
You buy organic food and bottled water and go out to eat at least once a week. You take a vacation once or twice a year. You spend a fortune on Christmas presents for your loved ones.
A couple of times a week you dress up and make your way to a million-dollar building with a steeple and praise the Jesus who told you that if you have two coats you should give one away, who told you it’s important to love your neighbor as yourself, who said that if you love Jesus you should deny yourself and be like him (Luke 3:11, Luke 10:27, Matt.16:24).
But you fight to keep the poor from having healthcare and food to eat (Matt. 5:42). If someone with an EBT card buys a steak, which you sometimes enjoy, you resent that he or she can also purchase one. You mock the poor for owning cell phones that you also possess. You proclaim boldly (quoting a man, not Jesus), “If a man will not work, neither should he eat!” (2 Thess. 3:10). All while you know nothing about the people who are receiving more government benefits than you happen to be receiving (yes, you like socialism when it benefits YOU; after all, you don’t want to pay for private schools and a bodyguard).
And you claim to follow the Jesus who told you to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and take care of the sick and the stranger (Matt. 25:35-36). Do you do what you believe he said? Do you really?
I’m not saying you should actually follow the words of Jesus and sell all you have and give the money to the poor (Matt. 19:21). Then you’d be poor and someone else would need to sell all to help you. But you could at least stop and think before you make your lame claims to superior morality and goodness as you look down your nose at those less fortunate than you.
I can hear your brain churning. I know what you’re thinking.
It’s not the government’s place to help the poor, you say. Individual Christians and churches are supposed to do that. Well, if individual Christians and churches did what they admit they should be doing, you can be sure the government wouldn’t have taken on the upkeep of the poor.
You’re also thinking that many defraud the system. A few might, yes. But I’d rather feed a few who could feed themselves than to know even one child might go hungry. And I think your Jesus would say the same thing to you.
Finally, you want me to know that Jesus didn’t actually tell YOU to sell everything. No, I guess not. So you go fix your supper; recline on your soft chair; watch Fox News; shake your head in disgust while you tell yourself the poor are just lazy and, anyway, the government shouldn’t be picking up the slack for you and your church; and thank Jesus for all the many blessings he gives to you because you truly love and follow him.
You don’t look like Jesus. You don’t talk like he did. You don’t walk like he did. And I think you know this to be true. At least be honest and admit it. Don’t add lying to all your other failures to follow your Lord.
Yes, I know: I’ve taken the words of Jesus all out of context, right? Or maybe I’m just one of those lazy people wanting free stuff. Perhaps I’m angry at God and striking out at his people. You’ll find some way to salve your conscience and go on feeling good about yourself while you condemn others. Oh look, Duck Dynasty is on.
Tina Rae Collins