” 10 And the crowds were questioning him, saying, “Then what shall we do?” 11 And he would answer and say to them, “The man who has two tunics is to share with him who has none; and he who has food is to do likewise.” -John the Baptist, Book of Luke chapter 3
Saw a news clip recently that one of the wealthiest peeps on plant earth, net worth reportedly at 97.8 Billion USD as of March, 2020… has moved from Microsoft to spend his time, efforts and certainly monies in his philanthropic work. He and wife Melinda established their foundation quite some time ago, and along with Warren Buffett and other super wealthy folks have bonded together around sharing with less fortunate people around the world among a host of other excellent and worthy causes. Why?
The obvious is they have so very much loot as well as expertise in business -but with a conscience and desire to make people’s lives more live-able, even SURVIVEable!
My many conservative friends regularly focus on independence, individual responsibility and what is arguably sometimes sharing with deserving people (however they define such) and are at times truly generous… with strong caveats.
My many progressive friends regularly focus on interdependence, shared and corporate responsibility and sharing with people -often without regard to whether they (in their view) deserve such or not.
Regardless of anyone’s politics, the simple, direct and in my view fact of the matter is John the Baptizer literally lost his head over confrontation in speaking truth to power. In the practical, natural world ain’t NO power like money and the political sway it brings.
We can talk all day long about “forced” sharing, taxation and such, but when pandemics and hit, look around at who is spending TRILLIONS to bail out whom (and where). I fully understand the concept in a largely capitalist world that is utterly convinced THE way to fix it is pour more (gained by taxation) money back into the corporations and sometimes in small ways, that ol’ “trickle-down” idea where the poorest of the poor… well hopefully they get some crumbs under the table. Make no mistake about who -owns- the table as well as means of production… but that’s another twist, no?
John had hurting, distraught crowds coming to see and hear him. When they asked he answered in quite direct fashion: you got two – give one to the person with none. Simple. Effective. Rich or poor it’s one boots-on-ground way to engage with your neighbors. No mention of who deserves anything.
Ahhhh but does it take BILLIONAIRES to actually turn the tide of the world’s ills? I’m absolutely NOT calling for some sort of mob action French Revolution, be certain that’s nowhere in my desire nor do I believe is it in God’s will for humankind!
I’m saying there are billionaires, millionaires and oligarcs (thinking even of the bum Al Capone yet giving to the poor in Cicero in his day…) who could turn many a tide of pandemic, injustice, food insecurity upside down in our world. Could.
Kudos to Bill and Melinda, Warren and others who are at least trying to make a serious positive dent with their fortunes.
Sadly, we have likely, millions who barf endless excuses why “survival of the fittest” is not only just but somehow the will of God, especially when it comes to taxation – though this is exactly how banks and other corporate blow-outs have been solved by plenty of government leaders and note: regardless of who was in power.
It is indeed not as much of a sacrifice unless you are the poor widow Jesus observed and commended, but she gave all she had – and the temple priests weren’t exactly pristine people nor did they all and always act honorably with the offerings. Some thing never change?
What will it take for true followers of Jesus to share as a matter of regular course, giving away one when we already have another? What, my suffering is more important than your suffering ‘eh?
The reality is not merely distrust of government, we need to face our own hearts in these matters.
“And do not neglect doing good and sharing, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.” -Hebrews 13.16
How do we love our neighbor as ourselves? Share.
The first and last virus to conquer is the one we carry in our hearts and the attitudes it produces towards those in need around us.
As always, thanks for stopping by. -Glenn