What About My Heart?
And Jesus said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” (Luke 12:15)
These days, it is hard not to see greed everywhere around us. The national mail delivery system, for example, is in disarray, phasing out door to door urban delivery of mail in large cities. Similar complaints about insufficient wages and downsizing emerge from a host of highly paid public service employees and corporate executives. As a consequence of restructuring, some might lose their jobs. Front line workers in health care are striking against a well known not-for-profit organization that relies heavily on public donations for its sustenance. Still, as much as no one wants to see anyone lose their job, I was finding it difficult to offer any sympathy to these people. There are reasons for this.
On our Island, most civil servant jobs are inherited or obtained through some form or patronage — political and/or bureaucratic — and nepotism. Whenever the threat of layoffs or downsizing comes for these folks, the national state broadcaster (in our area) devotes significant attention and coverage to this situation. (Remember, this is the same state broadcaster that regularly loses more money than the postal system.) These employees are already paid higher than the average worker and their job normally comes with a good pension and health care benefits that — according to numerous business and statistical reports — supersede the norm.
Please don’t get me wrong here. I feel sorry for ordinary workers who are laid off without warning when the economy experiences a downturn. The Heinz workers recently laid off in Leamington or the Kellogg’s workers now filing for Employment Insurance benefits in London are two examples of job losses that will have a significant impact on the economy in days to come. But in comparison to the former — wait, there is no comparison. Many of these latter people (and their spin off farmer counterparts) receive less wages and fewer benefits than those in the civil service.
So what is all the kerfuffle about? Hardly anyone at the post office is actually going to lose their job because the workers are represented by a strong union presence and protected by seniority. Nothing is ever done without the union’s blessing. Plus, the older employees who qualify for buy-out packages and/or retirement will simply move on meaning that actual job losses beyond normal attrition would be minimal. Conversely, most private sector employers out there in the real world just drop the axe. That’s it — there’s your notice. There might be a hearty handshake accompanying that good luck paycheck but nothing is guaranteed.
As I pondered on this new society in which we live, I found myself focusing on the greed of others, and their collective indifference, pride and apathy. Even though the writing has been on the wall for decades that government spending (or should I say overspending) had to stop, and that similarly, public service cutbacks had to happen sometime, it didn’t seem to phase anyone that many people and their families get by on about half of what the public sector makes in accumulated wages, benefits and pensions.
In the midst of my many questions, including “why do we no longer want to leave a legacy for upcoming generations” I realized that the peace and joy that the Lord gives us every minute of every day was slowly being replaced by emotions that were anything but. My heart was being jeopardized by characteristics opposite to the fruits of His Spirit. I knew that the Lord had a better plan for me and as such, I was not going to let satan steal my joy. I was not going to allow the devil to take my peace away from me because I am a son of the Most High King. Not many people can make that statement in good faith. But I can. I have learned that when I believe in Jesus by faith, and seek His righteousness, I don’t need to covet my neighbour’s possessions. Jesus gives me more than I could ever have imagined.
This is not to suggest that some things in the social fabric should be permitted (without justice and accountability as its foundation) because that would be totally wrong too. Speaking out against things that don’t pass the stink test should be a priority for those who detest wrongdoing. But what it does mean is that my Lord God and Saviour has already taken care of all my needs even before I ask, so I don’t need to dwell on an abundance of possessions. I have the King of kings living in my heart — the same God who created me in the beginning and knew me from my mother’s womb — He has a purpose for my life that reaches far beyond the holds and bondage of this world. His promises are true. And yes, He will do the same for you too. Ask Jesus into your life today. Read your Bible and discover the greatest love story ever told.
Most of all, may God richly bless each and every one of you who take the time to read these blogs. May God fill you with His peace and prosperity.