America is a nation of people of many religious beliefs. Many Americans claim to be Christian; and yet their individual lifestyle choices don’t always reflect the teachings of Jesus Christ. Jesus left us with two commandments to follow. We are commanded to love God with all of our heart, mind and strength; and to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. According to Jesus, if we love God we prove it by obeying him. Loving our neighbor means showing compassion for those around us who are suffering. How can we claim to love God or our neighbor and walk by a homeless or hungry person and do nothing? Jesus said that whatever we do for the least among us, we also do for him. Would we deny Jesus food if we saw him hungry or poor? Most of us would answer “No”but in reality we often neglect family, friends and strangers who in dire need, because we care more about ourselves than about others.
Some Christians ignore the suffering people of the world because their minds are only on heaven. They are waiting for Jesus to come take his church out of this earth and yet they fail to understand that Jesus can’t return unless we prepare a way for him. When John the Baptist came preaching he told people to repent and prepare a way for Jesus to come. He told them to loving deeds toward one another as proof that they had changed their minds and ways to please God. When the people asked what they should do; John gave them very basic instructions (Luke Chapter 3). John said to them: 1) Whoever has two coats give to him who has none; and to do the same with their food; 2) Not to cheat on taxes; 3) Do violence to no man; 4) Don’t falsely accuse another; and 5) To be content with their wages. In short, John let them know that how they dealt with each other and money would determine whether they would be pleasing to God. Note that the first thing John commanded was that they take care of the poor.
Again, the Bible speaks of a rich young ruler; or in our day we would call him a politician. He asked Jesus what he needed to do to obtain eternal life. He claimed to have followed all the written commandments but Jesus let him know that there was one important thing he had missed. Jesus told him to sell all he had and give it to the poor. The man was grieved because he was very wealthy. Jesus told his disciples that it is hard for a man who loves money to enter into the Kingdom of God. This man’s treasure was in his money; but Jesus wanted him to treasure what God treasured; for where a man’s treasure (money) is, there will his heart be also. Now consider the average American who lusts after money. Those who say they are Christians cannot love both God and money. In reality, our nation’s financial crisis reflects the values of the people. We love money and things and we neglect the poor. If there are any poor among us, we let the government take care of them.
What we do with money is the single greatest indicator of our love for God and for our neighbors. It’s proof that we are like our father who gave all he had for us. No greater love is there than when a man gives up his life (his time, money and possessions) for another. For our sakes, Jesus gave up his riches of Heaven and became poor; that we in his poverty might become rich; not only for our benefit alone, but so that we could abundantly care for the needs of others. How hard is it to spare a coat, or food to prove our love for others? The Bible says that if anyone does not provide for his own poor, he has denied the faith and is worse than an infidel or unbeliever. God forbid the day that American Christianity be labeled a religion of infidels! If by our own deeds we have no proof that we are saved, how can we lead the rest of the nation into God’s Kingdom? How can we complain that our nation’s values are against God; that it’s values have led us into financial crisis if we who have the mind of Christ refuse to obey Christ? The solution is simple, when Christians repent and obey God, it will cause a spiritual shift in our nation in which more Americans will begin caring about the welfare of their neighbors. Where there is love and compassion for one another, there will also be the endless flow of the supernatural blessings and prosperity of God. When we return to love; our families and our nation will return to abundance and God will cause us to prosper like never before.