Devotions, Politics and Government

Who Will Help?

Read: Proverbs 13:1-25

“Understanding is a fountain of life to one who has it, But the discipline of fools is folly.”

Proverbs 16:22 (NASB)

I had been working for the State House of Representatives for several weeks and had to admit that I was enjoying myself.  While I wasn’t a part of the action, I was right in the middle of it and the atmosphere was electric.

As one of several House Pages, I found my days filled with activity.  There were committee rooms to prep and errands to run as I kept my Representative appraised of all the current legislation.  On the occasion in which I found myself with a few spare moments, I’d retreat to the gallery and watch the debate on the floor, dreaming of the day when I’d address the Speaker, myself.

I was happy in my solitude until one afternoon when one of the other pages discovered that I had free time available to me.  Seizing the opportunity, she immediately began prevailing upon me to assist her with her own duties.  She explained that she was falling far behind and was going to be in a great deal of trouble if I did not help her.  Recognizing the truth of her statement, I agreed.

After a week of aiding her in what seemed to be a multitude of reasonably simple tasks, I began to ask myself why she was struggling so hard to finish each job.  The answer wasn’t a pretty one.  While I was busy assembling her committee minutes and gathering papers for bill books (volumes designed to help each Representative keep track of current legislation), she was in the break-room gabbing with the other pages!  As I watched, I realized that she could easily have completed her own work without any assistance if she were only willing to give up a part of her social life.  I was sacrificing my opportunities in order to rescue someone else from their own foolishness!

While there isn’t anything wrong with helping others, the Bible warns about the dangers of repeatedly assisting fools.  The next time my friend asked for assistance, I politely explained that I had something else to do and, after listening to her call me a few names, went on with my day; embracing the opportunities which had come my way.

The truth is that, as a Christian, it can be difficult to consider doing anything other than what appears to be genuinely gracious and merciful at the moment.  After all, what will others think of us if we proclaim goodness, but stand by while others are suffering?  Yet oft times, standing by is the best thing we can do.  In allowing those around us to suffer the consequences of their own mistakes without our interference, we may create exactly the circumstances necessary for their growth!

Challenge: The next time you feel tempted to step in, ask yourself whether you are doing so because there is a Biblical need or because you are caving to the pressure to “be nice”.  Then, let God handle the rest!

Devotions, Politics and Government

The Security System

Read: Psalm 20:1-9

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” – Proverbs 3:5,6

The excitement in the neighboring office was palpable.  After years in an unsecured building, they were installing a state of the art security system with all of the alarms, bells, and whistles that every government office truly needs.  There was the deadbolt on the glass door (I suppose that they were expecting any would be criminals to think twice before breaking the glass and unlocking the deadbolt) and a film on the windows which would prevent them from shattering if a madman attacked the office with a machine gun.  (I was a little concerned that a bullet could still pass through the window and into the body of someone inside of the office, but at least all would rest in peace in the knowledge that the windows would be fine.)

The crowning jewel, however, was the communications system.  Placed beside the glass door, a com box allowed the Staff Assistant (whose desk was directly behind the glass door) to observe all potential visitors through a video camera which was directly linked to his computer.  (Did I mention that the door was glass… transparent glass?) Not only that, but while looking at the constituent in the monitor behind his desk, rather than through the glass door in front of it, he could pick up the phone attached to the monitor and speak to the person on the other side of the glass door.

I have to confess that there wasn’t anyone in any of our offices who didn’t see the humor in the situation and the Senator’s Staff Assistant was more than willing to admit that he didn’t feel any more secure after the system had been put in place than he had felt before its installation.

Sadly, many people do go through life seeking security in all the wrong places only to find that the measures they’ve taken don’t provide any real defense against the dangers, trials, and frustrations which life inherently holds.  While it may be tempting to cling to only those things which we can see (family, friends, a retirement account, or a good job), Scripture is clear: only the God who loved us enough to die for us is capable of providing us with true security!

Thought for the Day: In what have you placed your trust?