Lanterns: Personal Convictions and Government Responsibility

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Personal Convictions and Government Responsibility

“For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly… Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality.” (Rom 12:4-6a, 9-13)

God has given each believer different spiritual gifts which combined form a whole. He has also given each of us a burden for a particular ministry or group of people. Some are particularly burdened for the lost, some for “shut-ins,” some for refugees, some for orphans, some for “at-risk” children and youth, some for those in prison. The list goes on and on. He does this to ensure all people are shown His love. None of us can care for all people, but all of us can care for some people. We have been given a great privilege to serve others.

"We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."

Our great country was founded based on the principle that every person has a right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Our country gives us the freedom to pursue happiness; our God gives us convictions to reach out to help others pursue life. In an effort to “promote the general welfare,” government began helping people in need through social programs like social security, welfare, medicare, etc. The problem was that once the government started, the people wanted more.

Now, instead of serving others, we “give” by paying taxes and expect the government to help all people who need it. Rather than serving selflessly, people now scream self-righteously. We grumble and complain that the government doesn't care and doesn't do enough to help the refugees, the elderly, the sick, or the poor. We do nothing to help these people except rant that the government is failing.

We fail them. They need more than our voice.

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for his us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. (1 John 3:16, 18

Every American citizen has a right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. “We the people” have a responsibility to one another. But when we put on government the responsibility of caring for those in need, the government fails. The government fails because we fail to do our part. We fail to take responsibility for those around us in need; we fail to love our neighbors as ourselves; we fail to lay down our lives for our brothers.

“If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.” (1 Corinthians 13:1-3)

Let us be more than a resounding gong or clanging symbol! Let us love without hypocrisy. Let us be the body of Christ whose hands and feet are ever moving to help those in need. It’s time for the Church to rise up and do the work it was meant to do and free the government from fulfilling our Christian responsibilities. Let us say less and do more!

Written by Kathleen Fairchild

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