Tom Minnery wrote an article in the Sept 2008 issue of Focus on the Family’s monthly magazine entitled “How Do I Choose?” in which he lays out six issues to consider before voting in the November elections including:
Separate principles from policies.
Does the candidate have a Christian world-view?
Political parties matter.
Isn’t the lesser of two evils still evil?
What if all choices are bad?
What if I don’t know the candidates?
What is not present in Mr. Minnery’s article is any mention about having “peace” or otherwise praying to God for guidance with regard to a particular candidate. My NIV Topical Bible references Ecc 1:13, 17 & 7:25 with regard to acquiring wisdom through research and education. To that end, we have important decisions to make in November regarding our elected officials and it’s up to us to chose wisely.
A recent letter from our church’s Board of Elders confirms my sense that although many Christians seek God’s will regarding a decision; in reality, most Christians work through decision making the old-fashioned way – thinking about options, considering the facts before them, and then making a decision. The letter states, “After evaluating recent giving patterns to the General Fund, the Board of Elders has determined (emphasis mine) that we must take a decisive step toward “right sizing” our current staffing numbers.” The Board of Elders appears to have given this decision its due consideration regarding laying-off a staff member regarding:
Analysis – “After evaluating recent giving patterns”
Collective wisdom – “After much prayer and discussion”
Decision – “We must take a decisive step”
Reflection – “This was not an easy decision”
Decision-making is often difficult and stressful. We often have incomplete information and may not always realize the impact decisions have on one’s self or others. Certainly, some decisions made can be better than other decisions but the more I think about it, the more I think God allows us to freely make decisions. My sense, as I read Paul’s letters, is that direct guidance from God was the exception and not the rule. Consider:
Phil 2:25 (I think it’s a good idea)
1 Cor 16:3-4 (If it seems the right thing to do)
Acts 6:1-7 (We need to do something about this)
Acts 15:24-29 (People got together, debated, decided, and acted)
To that end, I don’t believe God routinely directs the decisions we make today. In addition, it seems that so long as any decision made does not violate any of God’s moral laws, then any decision we make can bring about honor and glory to God.
It’s not my intention to delve into politics with this post and anyone reading my bio will sense who is my preferred presidential candidate. That said, I came across an article by Ben Smith in which House Speaker Nancy Pelosi referred to presidential candidate Barack Obama as “a leader that God has blessed us with at this time.” It’s awkward (to me) when people of faith talk in such a manner. However, when politicians exude religious overtones, I sense we’ve reached a new theological realm relating to the will of God. But I’m not sure just what that realm is. Still, I would be curious to know how and when Ms. Pelosi realized that God had blessed this country with Barack Obama? And, how does Ms. Pelosi know that God hasn’t blessed this country with George Bush for these last eight years?
The card from my bride as we celebrate our 30th anniversary today reads:
Hold on to me, and I will hold on to you through anything and everything life brings our way.
Bring me your worries, and I’ll listen with my heart.
Tell me what you need, and I’ll do my best to give it to you.
Love me even when it isn’t easy, and I promise to do the same for you.
After all, isn’t that what love, true love, is all about?
I am a truly blessed and lucky guy. Happy anniversary, my love.
There’ll be extra-credit given to anyone who remembers a rock group by this name. However, instead of being about Blind Faith, this post is about blind faith in relation to money management and the will of God.
An acquaintance recently said, “I’m realizing that the most important thing I can do is give up the control I think I have over my own life so that the Lord can bring about His control in my life. I need to trust and give up control.”
What’s so astonishing to me about this quote is that just two years ago this same person emphatically told me that it was God’s will that they were able to buy a particular house. In answer to my question as to how they knew that it was God’s will to buy the house, the response was, “Well, we got the house, didn’t we.”
Suffice it to say, higher mortgage payments due to an adjustable rate mortgage coupled with other significant financial blunders is putting a severe strain on this couple’s relationship – not only with each other but also (as I see it) with God. What’s most interesting to me is the inability (or unwillingness) to understand that a series of poor financial decisions – and not “the will of God” has brought about their difficulties. I can only surmise that the “faith waters” just beneath the surface are roiling. I see a desire to admit that “mistakes were made”. However, admitting to mistakes is to admit that they were exercising a false faith by believing that God gave them the house in the first place.
I think of someone who’s blind and I think of someone not able to see. Duh! However, Webster’s dictionary definition of the word ‘blind’ clarifies what I believe to be the root cause of this couple’s difficulties:
- Unable or unwilling to discern or judge.
- Having no regard to rational discrimination, guidance, or restriction.
- Made or done without sight of certain objects or knowledge of certain facts that could serve for guidance.
The reality is that God has provided a “wealth” (pun intended) of information about money-matters. It appears to me that this couple is experiencing the consequences of financial decisions that are inconsistent with biblically based money management practices and that their current difficulties have nothing to do with the application of God’s sovereign will.