The upcoming national election will say something about whom and what the American people trust. Both candidates and parties stress the importance of trust. The fact is, they each want you to trust their leadership and promises, yet neither candidate is perfect, and there are reasons for legitimate concern on both sides. We all want both parties to be concerned with the welfare of the poor, seek better ways to enable the healthcare system to work more efficiently and effectively, provide for the defense of the nation, reign in spending, and enforce constitutional laws. But we should recognize that government carries a limited load in our lives. God is our authority, our hope, and our provider, not government.
The people must control the government, or the government will control the people. “We the people” will ultimately trust God or government. If the government does not serve us wisely and effectively, we will serve it to our own ruin. When people are taught to look to government or to others to care for them, they will not look to God. But God is our only true source, and believers should act accordingly.
The prophet Jeremiah said, “Cursed is man that trusts in man.” When people in trouble are led or encouraged to look to politicians and the federal government for help, they will likely not seek God and find the real assistance they so desperately need. When “we the people” are not taught to notice, love, care for, or assist our neighbor, we too have been deceived and contribute to our own downfall, loss of freedom, and ultimate bondage. Handing our personal responsibility and the importance of being involved in meeting the needs of others to some agency or national political power destroys hope.
If the American people will again put God in first place, we will notice others and, motivated by true compassion, work together to find meaningful solutions. In addition, we will be personally involved. People in need must see people who care in order to recognize there is a God who also cares. A government program will not, and should not, be expected to reveal the love of God. Trusting government to care for the poor strips God from the equation. This is not biblical compassion. The Good Samaritan was good because he took personal responsibility for the hurting man. He didn’t assume someone else would do it – he took direction action himself.
Jobs are important, but not so that we can boast in our own ability. Paul wrote that mankind "must labor, performing with his own hands what is good, so that he will have something to share with one who has need." (Ephesians 4:28) We work so that we can share. It is only when we have that connection to people that God’s love is evident.
People’s needs and weaknesses should help drive them to the correct source of help: God. Instead, we’re training them to turn to government. A faceless federal agency sending out checks with no personal connection is welfare, but it is not compassion in the scriptural sense. If “we the people” keep lifting up the government rather than God and His love as the answer to life’s challenges, we are actually promoting idolatry. Pointing people to government for assistance instead of stepping up and, as the church of Jesus Christ, taking an active, personal hand in helping others is a complete abdication of the call of God. May God forgive us and lead us to repentance!
This is the only way to build “one nation under God,” and we must do it together as “we the people.” Then, and only then, will we have liberty, justice, and hope for all. We will again be the land of opportunity and a “shining city set on a hill” for all the world to admire. It is not too late, but it is late. Watch and pray—then vote!