Saturday, July 8, 2017

Who do we ask? --by Linden Malki

" Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country." (JFK's Inaugural Address, Jan 1961). Looking around today's America, there seems to be a lot of talk about what our country should be doing for everybody, as if "the government" (whatever that actually is) can solve all our "problems".  But we have to be careful with the second half of Kennedy's advice as well. Who decides who to ask? My first  idea of what I should do is political, or social, or economic, and it is not the same as anybody else's idea. We've already got all sorts of people trying to do all sorts of things for our country, and some have already been tried and failed at everything except making their perpetrators feel good.  This is a question for somebody a lot smarter than I am. There are lot of people out there who think they're smarter than anybody, and they scare me. If you look at the last century's list of who thought they knew more about running a country than anybody, what they actually accomplished is a whole lot of people dead and a whole lot more refugees fleeing for freedom.

Ok, then who's really smart enough?  Let's look at the Creator, who made the whole thing. We can think that there are things we'd have done different had we been in charge, like maybe a fence around that tree and keeping better track of that snake, but apparently the Boss wanted us to have meaningful choices with meaningful consequences. We haven't done a very good job with the choices, on the whole. We've seen what happens when we try to do it all on our own. We don't do a very good job trying to use what He gave us to make a good world.

But is a "good world" what we should be looking for? There's a lot of talk out there--even in what is supposed to be the church--about asking God to do what we want, telling Him what we think and demanding it on our terms. Unfortunately we really don't know what is best for us or anybody.  Asking our country, or even God, to do what we want isn't the smart option. Who do we ask? Solomon had the right idea, but even the smartest man in the world got in his own way.

We already have a lot of the answers available; they've been around for at least 3500 years.  The problem is that we're not smart enough to apply them rightly by ourselves. Jose told us last week that the best answers to who we are and what we're supposed to do about it come from the One who designed us and knows what He intends for us. But He didn't make us puppets; we have to be willing to become His children, the sheep of His pasture.

So what can we do? We can tell God that we are open to His leading, His assignments, being His people. This is what we can do for the country (not to mention the world)--we can be connected to a dimension outside of this world, and let Him open doors for us. We can be different from the people around us; --it's not just following the rules; that's been tried and doesn't get where we need to be. Even within the church there have always been those who think all they need to do is not murder anyone and keep out of trouble and go on their own way as they want. They miss the surprises that God as for us--I've had big ones and little ones scattered through my life. We can do what He calls us and empowers us to do, not what we think we can do in our own limited strength.

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