Giver: the ground rules have changed around us..
Not long ago, America was a land of order and opportunity. People who were born here were invited to prosper here; people who came here by choice were offered the chance to have most of the same promise, as long as they came in order, in search of opportunity. Their foreign birth would disallow a future as an American president, but they could become an American success story.
If you just awoke from a long sleep, let me warn you: the ground has moved beneath you. The surroundings may look the way you remember them – from before your hibernation – but you need to take some time to get acclimated. The order you presumed to be reliable has now been recalled; today, we have more laws… but limited enforcement. And, the opportunity that invited creative industry and personal advancement has been recalibrated: privilege now attaches to the slacker, while the wealth creators see a horizon with punitive penalties proposed for those who have been industrious.
At the country club – or, any other civic setting – the descriptor “good Christian” would have been attached to a person whose candidacy for inclusion in a prestigious group expecting it to represent a powerful, positive endorsement. Today, it’s more likely to trigger false charges of various “phobias,” presumed to demonize someone with moral absolutes based on the Scriptures.
Are Christians – real Christians – as bad as some of the cultures’ loudest (and most caustic) commentators claim? Is this historic notion of “righteousness” – in fact – simply a prideful sanctimony that self-elevates religious people, at the expense of others?
King David is a source from history who lived above the political fog that probably blew in-and-out of his world with some frequency. He was tapped as a young man with a bright future when he was a middle-schooler. He fought – and won – an international to-the-death competition against a Giant. From hero to homeless – and on-the-run from Saul’s shoot-on-sight orders – he waited for God to align the conditions that would allow the future he had been promised by God’s man, Samuel.
Finally crowned at 30, nearly 40 years had passed in Israel, under David’s reign. He had the benefit of God’s extended favor from which he could see reality without the taint of passing fads and political dust-ups. Here’s what he had confirmed, through his years at the top: “I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread. They are always generous and lend freely; their children will be a blessing.” (Psalm 37:25-26)
As we careen through the final months of 2019 and cross the threshold into 2020, the forces in control of the public screens/megaphones will be screaming “election!” at every turn. Winners and losers will be predicted constantly, with tiresome polls offered as proof that the prevailing campaigns can be foretold (they can’t). Your bandwidth will be compromised – constantly – if you allow your peace of mind to be in the hands of agenda-ridden media voices, none of whom can truly be trusted.
Ask a king whose progeny will, one day, rule over the nations of men the way He does over the universe He created, already. In David’s view, righteous is the class far above royalty. What is it about that upper echelon that sets them apart?
In a word: generosity. John MacArthur notes the difficulty: “God made all of His creation to give. He made the sun, the moon, the stars, the clouds, the earth, the plants to give. He also designed His supreme creation, man, to give. But fallen man is the most reluctant giver in all of God’s creation… ”
Who modeled that, with generosity valued at the most unapproachable level? “God so loved the world that He gave His only Son… ” (John 3:16)
Modern culture doesn’t accurately appraise that generous provision; it’s our job to elevate that assessment…