Ok, by now you know this is opinion blog, so this’ll be the last time for a while I make one of these hedging statements. This is opinion and thoughts that have been bouncing around in my own head and may or may not be helpful.
Ok, so one question asked by people who doubt has bothered me for quite a while: “Why doesn’t God just do something about _________ if He’s so powerful?” And, really, for a long time, I had no idea how to answer that. Up until recently, I would usually turn with that person, look to God in prayer and say, “Yeah… that guy does have a point. What are you gonna do about that?” Maybe not the most respectful, but I recently heard Os Guinness – a Christian and social philosopher and activist – who pointed back to Genesis.
Genesis 1.26, 28 (JPS):
“And God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. They shall rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, the cattle, the whole earth, and all the creeping things that creep on the earth.’ […] God blessed [the humans] and said to them, ‘Be fertile and increase, fill the earth and master it; and rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, and all the living things that creep on the earth.”
I don’t know about you, but I often see this passage tossed about in sermons about marriage and its purpose, but I rarely hear anyone go any farther. That whole bit about “master the earth” and “rule the animals” seems to get swept under the rug. In other words, God created the world and then, in His love and wisdom, created humans (us) and gave us the charge to take care of the whole lot. Bit of a task…
It goes without saying (or maybe not) that God can and does directly interact with His creation even today, performing miracles of healing and provision. He also continues to charge us with the task of performing that healing and performing acts of provision for others. So often we like to take a all-or-nothing approach to what we should do. Some Christians feel like God is distant and expecting us to create heaven on earth on our own, while others feel like God is directly interacting and we need to stand back and let him work. And I agree with parts of both sides. I see that God is near and interacting and also expects us to do what we can.
When we seek first the Kingdom, the service, love, and actions that spread the message of Jesus the King, everything else will be added. The parable of the soils shows that receptive soil produces a harvest a hundred times what was sown. Consider your own efforts – if God is working in them your efforts will produce results beyond anything you could imagine.
I also have issues with people who use what they see as God’s inaction as a weapon. I see these people have incredible faith in science and the progress of human development. But, really, the issues and problems they see in the world could have been solved if humanity would have been taking its role of caretakers and rulers seriously instead of investing so much time into creating better ways to kill or injure one another. Just consider how much farther along medical science would be if we pumped as much into that as into weapon development over the past 2000 years or more.
We have to strike a balance between trusting God to handle and multiply our own efforts, as large or small as they may be, and striking out boldly against things like poverty, oppression, violence, hatred, and the like. God has charged us as his children, as inheritors of a mighty kingdom, to take responsibility for ourselves, and the world around us.
How does your family handle responsibility? Do your children have chores or activities that are their responsibility? How do you handle when people fail to take care of their responsibilities?