Downfall of the Welfare State

Downfall of the Welfare State

Matthew 25:29-30

For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

These verses follow “The Parable of the Talents” which I have written about before.  (Using Your Talent)  The parable is about wasting a life, the gift of life, through covetousness, worry or fear.  In verse 29 Christ sums up this law of nature, or the law of the balance of the universe.

But reading these verses also brought to mind another thought which I wrote down as not to forget.  My note was: “downfall of the welfare state”. Continue reading

Take What Belongs To You and Go

Take What Belongs To You and Go

Matthew 20:14-16

Take what belongs to you and go. I choose to give to this last worker as I give to you. Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or do you begrudge my generosity?’ So the last will be first, and the first last.”

In Matthew, Chapter 20, Jesus tells his followers the parable, “Laborers in the Vineyards”.  If you haven’t read it or are not familiar with it go and read it now.  I’ll wait.

Ok, here’s a recap if you decided not to read it. Continue reading

Just A Feel Good Word

Just A Feel Good Word

Lamentations 3:34-39

To crush underfoot
all the prisoners of the earth,
to deny a man justice
in the presence of the Most High,
to subvert a man in his lawsuit,
the Lord does not approve.

Who has spoken and it came to pass,
unless the Lord has commanded it?
Is it not from the mouth of the Most High
that good and bad come?
Why should a living man complain,
a man, about the punishment of his sins?

When I read these verses, I am reminded of the arrogance of man and so is Jeremiah who wrote these lamentations for Israel.  I am reminded of the arrogance of people who assume that all justice is defined as they see it.  I am talking about the arrogance of  those who think that punishment is to be doled out to their own sense of revenge.  The assumption that they are the sole proprietors of making the determination of the punishment to fit the crime.  People believe they are the center of the universe and therefore the balance is of their doing and it is to be to their satisfaction.  But we are only a mere sub atomic particle in the infinity of space.

Justice is very subjective.  Continue reading

Rooted In Covetousness

Rooted In Covetousness

Malachi 2:17

You have wearied the Lord with your words. But you say, “How have we wearied him?” By saying, “Everyone who does evil is good in the sight of the Lord, and he delights in them.” Or by asking, “Where is the God of justice?”

Malachi is addressing the priests and rulers of Israel.  In verse sixteen, Malachi tells the priests just how sinful they have been, but he also lets them know that there is still time for repentance. He also advises them of the consequences they will have to suffer if they continue on their current path. Continue reading

No Bank Account For Good Deeds

No Bank Account For Good Deeds

Ezekiel 33:17-20

“Yet your people say, ‘The way of the Lord is not just,’ when it is their own way that is not just. When the righteous turns from his righteousness and does injustice, he shall die for it. And when the wicked turns from his wickedness and does what is just and right, he shall live by this. Yet you say, ‘The way of the Lord is not just.’ O house of Israel, I will judge each of you according to his ways.”

These verses speak to me on a couple of levels.

First, the idea of justice.

Ezekiel talks about the Israelites complaining that God’s justice, or the balance of the universe, doesn’t fit their idea of justice.  I’ve written before about this and the fact that my idea of justice and someone else’s idea of justice are probably two different things.  And so the Israelites say in verse 17, what most of us say today when something happens to us, or others, that we don’t understand.  We say, “There is no justice” and then question God and even God’s existence.  We do this on the basis of things not going the way we thought they should go.  We look to blame something outside of us for what happened.

God answers these petty accusations very effectively:

…when it is their own way that is not just.

Ezekiel and God are talking about personal responsibility, and each of us owning up to and realizing that we are responsible for our actions.  We must face up to the fact that we are responsible for the consequences of our actions.  The perceived injustice of the world, is the injustice we have created and served upon ourselves.

God does not inflict grief upon man.  Man inflicts grief upon man.

In verses 18 and 19, Ezekiel speaks of God’s balance. When the righteous do evil they suffer their grief.  There are no mulligans, or a reserved bank account of good deeds to excuse the evil act and eliminate the consequences.  And vice versa.

Second, each act stands on its own.

This is the third time I have written about this.  This truth is conveyed a number of times in the writings of Ezekiel.

Each act, each decision has its own consequence based on the act.  Every act and decision stands on its own.  If a plane makes 1000 trips without incident, that will not eliminate a catastrophe if the pilot makes a bad decision.  The 1000 safe and non-eventful flights do not somehow make the laws of physics and aerodynamics over look this lapse in judgement.  The consequences of a bad decision will be experienced.

Every action stands on its own.  That is what God and Ezekiel are telling us in verse 20.

I will judge each of you according to his ways.

This is personal responsibility. They are telling us that each of us stands alone, every one of our actions stands alone.  If you do twenty wonderful and righteous things during the course of the day and then do one evil act, the twenty do not cancel out the one.  The consequences of the evil act will still be suffered.

God and Ezekiel are letting us know we are responsible for our actions.  Each and every action is judged by itself.

© Otis P Smith and About the Groove, 2019. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Otis P Smith and About the Groove with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Just A Feel Good Word

Just A Feel Good Word

Lamentations 3:34-39

To crush underfoot
all the prisoners of the earth,
to deny a man justice
in the presence of the Most High,
to subvert a man in his lawsuit,
the Lord does not approve.

Who has spoken and it came to pass,
unless the Lord has commanded it?
Is it not from the mouth of the Most High
that good and bad come?
Why should a living man complain,
a man, about the punishment of his sins?

When I read these verses, I am reminded of the arrogance of man and so is Jeremiah who wrote these lamentations for Israel.  I am reminded of the arrogance of people who assume that all justice is defined as they see it.  I am talking about the arrogance of  those who think that punishment is to be doled out to their own sense of revenge.  The assumption that they are the sole proprietors of making the determination of the punishment to fit the crime.  People believe they are the center of the universe and therefore the balance is of their doing and it is to be to their satisfaction.  But we are only a mere sub atomic particle in the infinity of space.

Justice is very subjective.  Continue reading

Children Whose Heart Is Set To Evil

Children Whose Heart Is Set To Evil

Ecclesiastes 8:11

Because the sentence against an evil deed is not executed speedily, the heart of the children of man is fully set to do evil.

We have all asked the question how do such evil people get away with doing such evil things and yet here I am toiling away doing it the right way and getting nowhere?

In Ecclesiastes 8:11 King Solomon is addressing that question because just as today, people had the same thoughts in ancient times.  To quote Solomon, “there is nothing new under the sun”. Continue reading