Sojourners posted an interesting blog today about the role of governments in the Kingdom of God. Chuck Gutenson, the author of the post, made a good argument for why followers of Christ should support the government when it seeks to take care of the needy and those who are have-nots.
His argument falls short, for me at least, at the end.
“What is much harder to find are good biblical reasons for why a faithful follower of Jesus would oppose government having a role in caring for the needy. Will they do it perfectly? Of course not. All the more reason faithful followers of Jesus must be vocal in pushing governments to serve the agenda for which they were created, and to serve it well!”
Should followers of Jesus seek to find ways that just simply get the job done, or should we be seeking to find the best ways to help the needy around us? I am not saying that we should be against the government in its pursuit to help those in our country who are poor, but I am saying that we should not only hope and seek for that in our government.
Another reason to not pursue government too passionately as an avenue for helping the poor is their spiritual needs. It is good to meet peoples physical needs, but if we are not following that up with meeting peoples relational and spiritual needs, we are not doing them any good.
“For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.”
1 Samuel 16:7b ESV
We need to be careful about also what and who we call poor. There is poor in possession and also poor in spirit. Obviously the government can be helpful in aiding the poor in possession, but they will never be good at helping the poor in spirit, unless our government begins to profess Christ, which is most likely never going to happen.
I do think, that whether you support the government as a venue for social change, or if you want to see that change happen outside the government, the important thing is, that as a follower of Christ, you need to be about what he said we need to be about.
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives
and recovering of sight to the blind,
to set at liberty those who are oppressed,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
Luke 4:18-19 ESV