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Washington Can’t Save You

There’s nothing like an election year (especially for the office of president) to get folks charged with expressing their deepest beliefs and concerns.

For the past 9 months, I’ve heard family, friends, and perfect strangers voice their political opinions and throw their support behind the candidate they believe will best represent them and “fix” everything that’s going wrong in American politics and the economy.

Regardless of who takes the oath of office in January, the economic strain on the U.S. and world markets will not miraculously rebound the next day.  Why we’re having such a financial crisis is another post for another day, but since this is a parenting blog, and I only rarely deviate to discuss politics, I’ll just defer the majority of those answers to the folks at CFL.  By the way, even though this is a political post, I will tie it all together with a parenting focus–bear with me.

I just want to put things into perspective, because I think that having tunnel vision on the economic trend just increases stress without providing a solution.  As parents, we definitely don’t need more things in our lives stressing us out.

Big picture, 100 years ago, there was no such thing as income tax.  Can you imagine that?  Aside from the fact that the government didn’t collect on a significant portion (depending on your tax bracket) of your earnings, you didn’t have to spend time or money filing taxes by April 15th each year.  Wow!  But more poignant is that in the past 50 years, both parties have had control of the executive branch and congress.  Instead of the federal government waxing and waning, it has only done one thing . . . it’s consistently increased in size.  It’s bigger and more powerful today than it was when I was a kid, and especially compared to when my parents and grandparents were kids.  Compare starting up a new business today (licenses, zoning laws, etc.) compared to the 1930s and 1940s (what licenses and zoning laws?  what the heck are those?).

Who’s fault is it that government is bigger and has the power to 1) tax us to death and 2) increase the financial debt of the country 700 billion on top of the trillions that it already owes?

It’s our fault. US.  “We the people”–the sovereign individual entities that comprise the government by selecting the government leaders to represent us.  We voted, we didn’t hold politicians accountable for their actions (unless, of course, we wanted things to be done the way they’ve been done for the past several decades).  We can’t blame the politicians, because we elected them.

Frustrated about not being able to pay your mortgage?  Are you suddenly unemployed?  Is your retirement portfolio suddenly worth pennies? It doesn’t matter which candidate you vote for (or write in), because those financial woes you’re facing won’t suddenly be fixed after the leader in the Oval Office has been determined.

Not only will financial hardships still abound, but the big picture is neither your presidential candidate nor your congressional candidate will save you.  Your portfolio won’t save you.

In the October 17, 2008 publication of The Kingdom Notes, R.C. Sproul, Jr. wrote the following in an article entitled “Idols of Destruction”:

I’m confident that many Christians have not slept well these last few nights. I suspect that tonight they won’t do much better. Over the last several days, as I write, the stock market has not performed well. It has reached a five year low, having lost over forty percent of its value since its peak. It is not difficult to muster sympathy in these difficult economic times. Forty percent is rather much to lose, though only slightly more than half of seventy percent.
I lose sleep at night not because Christians have lost forty percent of their investments. I lose sleep at night because Christians are losing seventy percent of their children. They spend their days in institutions where Jesus doesn’t matter. Seven hours a day, 180 days a year, Jesus doesn’t matter. I am not surprised that when they graduate, Jesus doesn’t matter to them. The children of professing Christians who are schooled by the government are more likely than not to reject the faith. And we’re worried about our stock portfolios.
Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount ‘where our treasure is, there will our hearts be as well (Matt 6:21).’ Our treasure is in our treasure, rather than in our children. We lose our children by the millions, but only cry when we lose our millions. The Christian church is a willful band of idolaters. We send our wives off to work because we worship mammon. We send our children off to “free” schools rather than private schools where Jesus is honored because we worship mammon. And we mourn at the death of our mammon, rather than the death of our childrens’ souls.
Every time tragedy hits, Christians fall back on this same chestnut of wisdom–we pray that ‘so and so’ will learn something important from all the suffering. My prayer is the same. My hope is that as God destroys the idols in His church, as He shows that He is almighty, rather than the almighty dollar, that His people will repent and turn to Him. My prayer is then that He might turn our hearts back to our children, that we might in turn raise them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. God could do this. Or, He could lead us into physical starvation, even as we have starved our own children of His Word.
The more likely scenario is this. Professing Christians will continue to cry out to Washington to be their savior. Washington will continue to fail. And some, a very few, but some will in their financial pain turn and repent. Narrow is the path of life, and wide is the way of destruction. Before you get on your knees, asking God to deliver us from financial calamity, confess your sins. Confess that all of us . . . value too much that which bears Caesar’s image, and too little that which bears His image. Then, do not ask Him to fix your portfolio. Ask Him to help you invest in the only investment that bears dividends into eternity, your children.
An original Traveling with Baby post by Dr. Dolly.

One Response

  1. That was great. Very encouraging….We got our recent statements for the kids college plans & ryan’s retirement fund and they are amazingly low. Looked at them this morning for the first time & actually found myself laughing. just another reminder that our treasure is not here. 🙂

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