And the next Savior is...?
Hillary? Or Donald? Or perhaps Bernie, Ted, or someone else? Election years are always entertaining, if nothing else. All the shouting, empty promises, name-calling, and finger pointing provide endless fodder for the news networks and late-night comedians. And yet some citizens take it all so seriously! They go bonkers at rallies and conventions! They aren't just voters; they are sincere believers, followers, disciples, if you will, convinced that if Candidate "A" is elected, he/she will solve our country's problems. I recently spoke on the phone with my dad. He's 82. He and some others were visiting after church a couple of months ago, and they came to this conclusion. No matter who is in control of the White House or the Congress, the same problems persist: the federal deficit keeps growing, our infrastructure keeps crumbling, jobs keep going overseas, and health care is too expensive.
"Do not put your trust in princes...on that very day their plans come to nothing." Is that the advice of Chris Wallace or Diane Sawyer? No, those words were penned thousands of years ago in Psalm 146. The writer of the Psalm understood that kings and princes often fail us. He didn't have to look any further than his own country of Israel. In the time of the Judges, the elders of Israel came to Samuel and said, "Appoint a king to lead us, such as all the other nations have." Samuel was troubled and took the matter to the Lord in prayer. God spoke to Samuel and told him to warn the people, "This is what the king will do: he will take your sons and make them serve with his chariots and horses...He will take your daughters to be perfumers, cooks, and bakers. He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive groves...He will take a tenth of your flocks, and you will become his slaves."
There's an old saying, "Be careful what you ask for, because you just might get it." And Israel learned the hard way that God was right. Some of the kings were pretty good; others, like Ahab, were hopelessly corrupt.
We are privileged to live in a free country and have been blessed throughout our history with some fine leaders. But we should never look upon them as "saviors" or modern day messiahs. Jesus is the true Savior, the One who gave His life on the cross and rose from the dead to solve our biggest problem: sin. As St. Paul reminds us, "We are citizens of heaven." Meanwhile, as we live in this world, we need to be salt and light, and show in our lives the qualities of honesty, truthfulness, justice, kindness, goodness, and self-control. That's the way to build a better country!