With the election just a few days away, a socio-political meme is circulating stating “if you don’t want your tax dollars to go to the poor don’t say you want a nation run on Christian values, because you don’t.” It is an attempt to capture the moral high ground and manipulate the Christian vote through guilt.
Take a few moments and read the great judgment scene in Matthew 25; go ahead, it’ll only take a minute. Now, notice verses 40 and 45 where Jesus says:
• (Matthew 25:40) “And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.'”
• (Matthew 25:45) “Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.'”
At the judgment, the Lord is not going to ask you how you voted to spend other peoples money. He is going to ask what you did with the money in your own pocket, what you did with your time, your talent, your ability, your strength.
While the Lord may be interested in why you voted for whichever party, he is not asking about your vote. He is looking at what you personally did, or did not do. It will be your deeds, using your own resources, that the Judge will be considering, not whether or not you voted for a particular social-political agenda.
There is enough injustice in our own backyards to keep us busy and to invest our funds, energy and talents into, and ultimately, this is where the Christian makes the greatest impact and influences our nation for the better. If we want a “Christian nation,” it won’t come about through Washington, or our state governments, or social or political programs. It comes about on the grassroots level, where even a cup of water offered in the Lord’s name will have its reward (Matthew 10:42; Mark 9:41).
Further, our use of our own resources for the needs of the poor goes beyond benevolence. We have a personal responsibility to give support, aid, and comfort to those who are in need. We see this woven into the Mosaic law to the extent that not doing so was reckoned as oppression (consider the prophets, especially Amos, Hosea and Micah).
Consider, too, Jesus’ parable of the good Samaritan, in which the Samaritan did not put his duty off on the government or some social agency, but reached into his own pockets and his own supplies to meet the need. He got his own hands dirty, so to speak.
In the judgment on the sheep and the goats, Jesus drives home the point that this is not optional. It is a matter of justice, obligation, and opportunity.
‘Justice’ indicates that each gets what he or she has coming to them, as ‘God-imagers’ every person has an inherent right to be treated with respect, and as Marshal Keeble was noted for saying, “All men are my brothers, if I miss ’em in Christ, I’ll hit ’em in Adam.”
Christian Nation? I don’t think most politicians either understand what that is, or even care, except as a means to manipulate the Christian vote for their own ends, but those of us who are concerned with Christian Ethics won’t put our obligations to the poor on the Government, we help the poor out of our own pockets.
Vote according to the dictates of your conscience, but don’t confuse voting for government programs with meeting personal responsibility.