Immediately following the recent shootings at The First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, we saw an outpouring of support from across Texas. If you’ve followed us on social media, you already know we were not only close in proximity to the shootings but we also had friends killed and injured. A week later it seems appropriate to relay some frustrations we saw in the wake of this horrendous event.
Before the frustrations, let me explain some of the amazing support we witnessed and took part in. We saw hundreds of thousands of dollars raised for individuals and families involved through multiple GoFundMe accounts, or other online donation outlets, and haven’t even seen the grand total. It’s staggering, surely. As well, we saw many benefits, and assistances, pop up all over our area to raise money for the church and victims. This sort of support is uplifting and shocking when we compare it to our usual miserable outlook on fallen humanity (I’m guilty of that at least). Then there are things that snap us right back to “reality”. Rumors of false GoFundMe accounts were spreading as quickly as the legitimate links. This seems to be expected with the national attention of the incident. However, an interesting issue also surfaced among the many social media discussions surrounding funeral expenses.
You might not have missed the statements about how the state will cover the funeral expenses. What you might have missed were the slurry of statism supporting this news. Of course, it sounds great that there will be relief for the families. We don’t need to dissect the argument that this is confiscated money from citizens. Neither do we need spend much time on the fact that it will only be $6,500 per person, in comparison to the tens to hundreds of thousands raised voluntarily. What we do need to focus on, is that when the word went out, the general tone was that of the highest deliverance had arrived. Word went out fast, as it does in social media. Comments popping up under every link of charity for funeral expenses, notifying the concerned and the fund drivers, that the state has taken care of it; as if to say, “Hosanna! The State is here, abandon your work!”
There’s the rub: The State has done well with establishing itself as a God like figure. Taxation has mimicked tithe in the hearts and minds of the citizen. The State’s military and police protection has rotted away individual responsibility, as well as faith in God’s protection. The sovereignty of the State is a given, and solicits rage when questioned, while God’s might be acknowledged verbally, but is rejected philosophically. Statism is truly a religion, and is painfully apparent during times of outsourcing our charity. “The State will provide,” might as well be the mantra. The hijacking of Christian doctrine to professing Christians should be pointed out more.
In closing here are some verses to think on concerning charity. Does the generosity of the State look like what Christians are called to do? Are we called to give voluntarily and without recognition, or desire a grand central entity to confiscate and direct our charity?
Matthew 6:1-4 Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven. So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving will be in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.
2 Corinthians 9:6-7 Now this I say, he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
2 Corinthians 8:9-15 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich. And in this matter I give my judgment: this benefits you, who a year ago started not only to do this work but also to desire to do it. So now finish doing it as well, so that your readiness in desiring it may be matched by your completing it out of what you have. For if the readiness is there, it is acceptable according to what a person has, not according to what he does not have. For I do not mean that others should be eased and you burdened, but that as a matter of fairness your abundance at the present time should supply their need, so that their abundance may supply your need, that there may be fairness. As it is written, “Whoever gathered much had nothing left over, and whoever gathered little had no lack.”