Jesus, Government, the Rich and the Poor

Sometimes on Twitter, one sees interesting things, such as this tweet from RexHuppke.

My favorite part of the Bible is where Jesus gives money to the rich, tells the poor to suck it up and asks for Caesar’s birth certificate.

I had to reply to this by saying,

My favorite part of the Bible is where Jesus said pay more taxes to Rome and let them redistribute it. ^_~

Now, just to be clear, Rex appears to be posting tongue-in-cheek here as he tweets comedy stuff but there are people who do have a similar belief about Christ, the poor, and government.

Christ spoke about people being charitable and giving to the poor but he NEVER spoke of having Rome (the government) come in, tax or otherwise take massive amounts of money from the rich, then redistribute it to the poor.  Such an act has no meaning.  Indeed, when it comes to the poor, Christ indicated that the poor will always be around, as seen in these passages from Matthew and Mark.

6 And when Jesus was in Bethany at the house of Simon the leper, 7 a woman came to Him having an alabaster flask of very costly fragrant oil, and she poured it on His head as He sat at the table. 8 But when His disciples saw it, they were indignant, saying, “Why this waste? 9 For this fragrant oil might have been sold for much and given to the poor.” 10 But when Jesus was aware of it, He said to them, “Why do you trouble the woman? For she has done a good work for Me. 11 For you have the poor with you always, but Me you do not have always. 12 For in pouring this fragrant oil on My body, she did it for My burial. 13 Assuredly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her.” Matthew 26:6-13

3 And being in Bethany at the house of Simon the leper, as He sat at the table, a woman came having an alabaster flask of very costly oil of spikenard. Then she broke the flask and poured it on His head. 4 But there were some who were indignant among themselves, and said, “Why was this fragrant oil wasted? 5 For it might have been sold for more than three hundred denarii and given to the poor.” And they criticized her sharply. 6 But Jesus said, “Let her alone. Why do you trouble her? She has done a good work for Me. 7 For you have the poor with you always, and whenever you wish you may do them good; but Me you do not have always. 8 She has done what she could. She has come beforehand to anoint My body for burial. 9 Assuredly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her.” Mark 14:3-9

In the Gospel of John, he doesn’t beat about the bush on who decried the expenditure of a luxury item on Christ as a waste of money that could have been given to the poor, nor does John hesitate to say WHY there was this “concern” for the poor.

1 Then, six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus was who had been dead, whom He had raised from the dead. 2 There they made Him a supper; and Martha served, but Lazarus was one of those who sat at the table with Him. 3 Then Mary took a pound of very costly oil of spikenard, anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped His feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil. 4 Then one of His disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, who would betray Him, said, 5 “Why was this fragrant oil not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?” 6 This he said, not that he cared for the poor, but because he was a thief, and had the money box; and he used to take what was put in it. 7 But Jesus said, “Let her alone; she has kept this for the day of My burial. 8 For the poor you have with you always, but Me you do not have always.” John 12:1-8

This passage is how I see politicians and political activist who supposedly care about the poor.  I include union bosses who supposedly care about the working man in this as well.  They don’t really care about the poor, they just want the money and power that goes with it.  Big Government types want to tax the heck out of people for programs for the poor but naturally the poor only get a pittance as Big Government takes its cut all along the way with bureaucracies, red tape, and whatever else that eats of massive amounts of taken money.  These politicians also make sure to reward those who donate to their re-election campaigns, to the general election campaigns of their political party, and who otherwise support them and the “correct” causes.

That’s how General Electric can get away with not paying a dime in taxes — crony capitalism.  G.E. and its head make massive political donations to the President and his party and in return, Government policies are geared to help G.E. get rich on so called “green” technologies while at the same time, G.E.’s head is an adviser to the President.  Nice, isn’t it?  Imagine the outcry if this had been George Bush doing this kind of crap.

I feel the same way about unions.  While there’s no doubt that many CEO’s and corporate executives “rape” their employees, union bosses do the same thing as far as I’m concerned.  The difference is that there’s no doubt when the corporate boss is raping you.  The union boss thinks that just because he gives you the common courtesy of a reach-around, you’ll be fooled into thinking that he cares about you and thus this isn’t rape.  Sorry, rape is rape whether you give a reach-around, use Vaseline, or even throw some dollars my way. (Sorry to be so frank there, but sometimes its best not to beat around the bush.)

You know, I don’t give a crap about how much a rich person makes and I’m not rich or anywhere close to it.  I only care about getting paid what I’m worth, which in today’s horrible economy isn’t easy to do.  As such, in 2009, I earned 60% less money than I did in 2008 as I got laid off and had to settle for whatever I could get to pay the bills.  Last year, my income rose by about 10%, mainly due to me working a ton of overtime.  I’m still looking for a new, better job that will pay me what I’m worth and I have an interview this week in that regard.

My point is that the government taking more money from the rich doesn’t help me at all, even though my income isn’t all that great.  I already know the richest Americans pay the bulk of the income tax burden in the country while half the country pays zero income tax (I don’t qualify because I don’t have a house full of kids or the like to get money redistributed my way). I know there are tons of small business people who file their taxes on their personal income tax who are vilified as “rich” because they may take in $250,000+ in revenue even though their personal take is only a fraction of that (meaning they aren’t rich).

The government spending itself into bankruptcy is not good for the country nor for the people in it such as myself. I don’t want Big Brother standing over me. telling me how much money is too much; I don’t want Big Brother standing over me, telling me what foods I should eat, what clothes I should where, what things I should read, what programs I should watch, or anything else with my personal life. 

Christ, in His ministry on Earth, never once spoke of how the rich need to pay more taxes.  He never once spoke of how Rome needed to take care of the people better nor how the specific rulers of Israel needed to do the same with more social programs.  Instead, Christ preached that man could not save themselves and that the only way to be saved was through Christ and his death and resurrection.  Christ did viciously attack the religious leaders of the day, who did get rich off of the people and loved the power, riches, and praises over God.  They redefined the laws God had established to suit their own ends, much as many politicians in American continuously attempt to redefine the Constitution to meet their own ends.

Finally, when it comes to the rich and the poor and taking care of that which is important to us, I think of these passages from the Bible.

41 Now Jesus sat opposite the treasury and saw how the people put money into the treasury. And many who were rich put in much. 42 Then one poor widow came and threw in two mites, which make a quadrans. 43 So He called His disciples to Himself and said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all those who have given to the treasury; 44 for they all put in out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all that she had, her whole livelihood.” Mark 12:41-44

1 And He looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the treasury, 2 and He saw also a certain poor widow putting in two mites. 3 So He said, “Truly I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all; 4 for all these out of their abundance have put in offerings for God, but she out of her poverty put in all the livelihood that she had.” Luke 21:1-4

This is an amazing account because this widow wasn’t forced to give her money. She loved God so much, she gave it all to Him willingly and thus Christ notes it.  She wasn’t protesting lack programs for the poor and certainly there would have been nothing wrong with her taking her tiny amount of money and using it for her personal needs.  Instead, she gave it away.  If only I loved the Lord that much. 

I’ve rambled a bunch and probably said nothing.  Nevertheless, I hope everyone has a good Easter and remembers that for those of us who believe, Christ is risen and our sins (which are too many to count) are forgiven by Him and Him alone.  ^_^

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