It's a general principle, right? You can't give what you don't have. A second, and equally important principle, is that real life is found in giving what we've received, as Jesus reminds us here
. I speak of the necessity of both receiving and giving in my o2 book
, showing how God invites us to freely receive from the wellsprings of His life, AND to freely give out what we've received by blessing our world in tangible ways. Learning to do this is like learning anything: it takes practice. o2 can help you develop the kinds of habits that will make your inhaling of Christ and your exhaling of blessing more real and consistent.
I'd like to depart, for the purpose of this post however, from the spiritualized implications of this and note that the principle applies, not only to our life in Christ, but to the realities of this physical world. An example of this was paraded before our eyes this past weekend, if we listened to the President's radio address, and the Republican response.
In listening to Obama, I realized that the challenge before him is that he's trying to lead us into the kinds of social safety nets many Europeans have, but failing to mention that most Europeans are taxed at a higher rate than us (when personal income tax, VAT, and business taxes are all taken together). To have these kinds of services, all of us would need to ante up, and that won't happen anytime soon. So the deficit spirals out of control, which will lead, inevitably, to a tanking dollar. Obama's plea this morning was that we needed his health care reform in order to save businesses, a legitimate concern, but he's calling for a reform that can't be paid for without either raising taxes and inflating the deficit.
How do the Republicans respond? Their senator from Michigan responded to Obama's radio address by calling for (hold your breath now, because this is really radical coming from Republicans): TAX CUTS! Yes, tax cuts will make everyone healthy, and solve the deficit. I'm growing weary of the pattern here - entrenched politicians shouting at each other across the aisle while unemployment goes up, the dollar goes down, and we continue to fail in our attempts to find solutions to real and entrenched problems.
Could someone please stand up and say to both sides: Generosity Requires Resources. Both sides are trying to gain votes by being generous with money that doesn't exist. It's dangerous and irresponsible, but the charade will continue until we begin to the price. We'll pay the price soon enough, in one or more of these ways: interest rates will rise, inflation will become an unquenchable fire, the dollar will decline. Of course, in all this, the people who'll be hurt most are the poor.
Both parties are entrenched in the paradigm of being generous with resources they don't have. How should we, as followers of Christ respond?