As midnight ET drew near this morning it became clear that the United States government was headed for a shutdown (meaning the fiscal year was over 9/30/13 and a new budget has not been agreed upon yet so the government must shut down aside from necessary employees). Now before you start to lecture me on how this is nothing to worry about I will admit this is not the “end of the world” so to speak. In fact, since 1977 the government has shutdown 17 times. That is 47% of the time across those years. That’s pretty crazy when you think about it. This leads me to consider something.
How much hope do we put in our government to lead us well with our best interest at heart, to conquer the threats to our quality of life and security, and rule justly and fairly over us?
I think we, as Americans, put A LOT of hope in our government for those things. We see it at every election. We see it in politicians shaking hands and kissing babies letting you know that they get us and have our best interest at heart.
We see how they play on our hope in our elected officials through every political advertisement as a politician is trying to target our felt-needs and tell us how he will fix our deep concerns such as better education for little Johhny, more healthcare for Grandma Sue, and lower taxes for Willie the working man. And whether the politician legitimately believes he can save our world, or is just power hungry, we feel we have to pick one and trust they can protect us from worst case scenarios for us and our loved ones.
We see it as we turn in out in droves either outside the court steps or in front of our televisions for the results of court hearings like OJ Simpson (that dates me a bit) or the Trayvon Martin case. If our side wins we cheer. If we feel a sense of injustice we revolt.
We see it in election parties that end in victory with dancing, celebrities and celebrations as their man won the big ticket and promises that he will use his power to fix our problems! We see it in election parties that turn to disappointment after defeat only to hear the defeated politician scrape the bottom of the barrel looking for something to soothe the hearts of those who hoped in her.
As Americans our hope & our security is clearly in the government in a lot of ways. Even Mitt Romney said in a debate last November that he saw America as the “hope of the world.”
I love being an American but if America is the hope of the world then we are hopeless.
As the government shut down today it’s one sign of many that it may not be wise for us to hope in something that is clearly imperfect.
But what if there was a different, more sure hope for the world? What if there was a government we could trust has our best interest at heart, can protect us from threats to our livelihood, and would rule it’s constituents justly and fairly? That would be good news!
Well, good news!
There may not be a government per se but there is a Kingdom that you can be a part of that all governments and kingdoms past, present and future are subservient to.
There is a King who conquered the biggest threats to any person’s livelihood, ever.
There is a King is so fair that his justice rolls down like water over a waterfall.
Now before you say “oh brother, here with go with religious ridiculousness and silliness” think with me for just a second if Jesus might actually meet every need we feel we have that either isn’t being met now or we know will never be met by any government or other human being. Think about it.
Jesus said he was launching the Kingdom of God into history. The good news is he did and the Kingdom of God is still going strong. In fact King Jesus said nothing will prevail against it and to this day, despite attempt after attempt to snuff Jesus’ movement out, all attempts have failed. So it can withstand attack. In fact, history shows the more it’s attacked the quicker it grows.
So if the Kingdom of God is unstoppable is it a good thing? I mean is it good news that the Jesus from history is a King with a Kingdom? Yes!
So what is the Kingdom of God like?
You don’t have to fear about your best interest being in mind because Jesus is gracious and he is fully in control. He said that all authority in heaven and on earth was given to him and being alive today means he is still in charge. That’s good because he is good. And Scripture tells us that Jesus works all things together for the good of those who love him and are called according to his purpose [in other words, the people in his Kingdom (Romans 8:28)]. This can’t be true unless he is in control. So he is good, trustworthy and in complete control. Good news for us.
You don’t have to fear the biggest threats to your quality of life which are self absorption and death. I think we can all agree that when we are fully self-absorbed people we are miserable. Most all of us fear death at least a little. But Jesus took the penalty of all self-worship and any other worship not directed at God upon himself 2,000 years ago on a cross and died a brutal death, living a perfect life we couldn’t live for God, and dying a death we should have died for our rebellion against God who has always been the only true authority. And then God raised Jesus back to life three days later with a body that is incorruptible. Jesus is still alive today and God made him King over everything. So don’t fear death or fall into self-worship or self-loathing. Worship Jesus as God instead of yourself and praise him for being victorious over death.
You don’t have to worry about true justice or being loved. God did this for us in Jesus because he loves us. With God accepting what Jesus has done God is fair and just to those with faith by not exacting payment from us for our rebellion since our faith is that Christ paid our debt in full. Plus, we can then trust him to be fair and just in all areas of our life because he has proven to be good, gracious and trustworthy.
When we put our faith in Jesus we get to be his servant forever in his gracious kingdom. And Jesus gives us his Spirit now to change us inside out until he comes to finally usher in his kingdom in it’s fullness.
It’s not a bad thing to enjoy being an American or love our country. It’s not wrong to even be thankful for our democracy. In fact, pray for our leaders. But remember to put your hope in
something someone who is the only one who can actually sustain the weight of human hope. Then you will be freed up to love people around you and serve others instead of hoping to be served by them and their government.
King Jesus. His kingdom never shuts down. Not even for one second. And one day his kingdom will culminate into the renewal of all creation and every bad thing not true, anymore.
Join the Kingdom, today. It’s Jesus’ world anyway. We just live in it. That’s good news.