Monday, October 14, 2013

The Government Shutdown and Pro Sports Strikes

I tend to steer away from politics in my ministry. If you want to know my political views, I'll be glad to have a calm, friendly, give-and-take with you over a cup of coffee. But I don't believe in using my ministry platform to comment on political issues.

Why? Because my job is to lead people to Jesus, not to advance a political agenda. And I refuse to drive people away from Jesus by talking about political views that they aren't ready to hear.

SO, all that being said...I want to say something about politics. Sort of.

Unless you've been living in a cave, you know about the government shutdown. I'm not gonna tell you what to think or who to blame or how to vote in reaction to it...but I want to say this: It kills me that when something like this happens, it's not the ones responsible who suffer. It's the "little people"-- the poor...the vulnerable...the elderly...our veterans...the thousands of government employees who are sitting at home right now wondering how they're going to feed their families...the hard working men and women who run private businesses that serve government facilities (like the owner of the Pisgah Inn. That story has a happy ending, though).

Saturday I got an email from ABCCM, our local crisis ministry. They are about to be inundated with requests for help because of the suspension of the WIC program, which provides nutrition for women, infant, and children. They asked local churches to conduct food drives, focusing on the needs of this vulnerable population.

I have a good friend who works for the US Forest Service. Right now he's sitting at home, wondering what's going to happen.

I've been involved with military veterans through ABCCM's "Veterans Restoration Quarters." A few days ago I saw that veterans could lose their benefits because of this shutdown. That's just wrong. These people risked their lives and made great sacrifices for us.

It reminds me of all the strikes and lockouts that happen in professional sports. Athletes who make millions of dollars get into standoffs with owners who make billions of dollars. Meanwhile, vendors, shop owners, arena workers, and local restaurants go broke.

All so the players can make more millions or the owners can keep more billions.

Maybe I'm being unrealistic, but it seems to me that "big people" like politicians, pro athletes and owners could get to the table and work these things out faster. The longer they don't, the more "little people" are hurt.

And the Bible is clear that God has a special place in his heart for "the least of these." And that He gets upset when people in power don't use their resources to care for them.

I suppose there's not a whole lot you and I can do about government shutdowns and pro sports strikes. But we can make sure that we, as individuals and as the church, follow Jesus in caring for the poor and vulnerable.

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
       --Matthew 25:40

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