Monday, August 8, 2011

An Unfortunate Juxtaposition

Normally, I try and avoid political commentary for a couple of reasons. First, I'm a Kiwi. Second, I've found that there are way too many Christians who automatically presume their political sensibilities are God's.

But today the following two statements came at me in such close proximity that I couldn't help but notice, and mention, the contrast.

I was reading from James 4:13-16 in preparation for this Sunday's message: Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes.

Then I took a brief break to catch up on the news. In his first public comments on the credit downgrade announced by Standard and Poors Credit Rating Agency, the President said,
"Markets will rise and fall. But this is the United States of America. No matter what some agency may say, we've always been and always will be a triple-A country." (Source: Associated Press)

James tells us that hubris is never a virtue for an individual presuming to control his financial future. Scripture repeatedly condemns the same attitude at a national level. The consistent testimony of history, seen in the rise and fall of all great empires, is that God seems to delight in humbling any and every nation that prides itself on . . . itself.

None of us likes to lose money. None of us likes the pain of a struggling economy, especially when it impacts the rest of the world, which is a whole lot more needy than we are. But perhaps something else is going on. Perhaps, in addition to learning how to balance our national checking account, we will end up learning something even more valuable: a little more national humility.