Seeing They Do Not See
By: Guest Authors
By: Christine Biediger
“But for me as a Christian, it also coincides with Jesus’ teaching that, ‘for unto whom much is given, much shall be required,’” he said. He, being President Obama in his speech at the National Prayer Breakfast, last Thursday.
It’s a shame if our President misrepresented the word of God, due to ignorance. If he intentionally misinterpreted the word of God in order to lend credibility to his class warfare policy, then that is something of an entirely different nature.
The parable he is borrowing from is the one Jesus told of the talents, where a wealthy master who was leaving on a long trip, divided his money (or talents, as the coinage was referred to in Biblical times) amongst his three servants, for safekeeping. To the first servant, he gave five talents, to the second he gave two, and to the last he gave one. When he returned, he called his servants to bring forth his property. The first servant had invested the talents, and had doubled his master’s money. The second had also carefully invested the talents left in his care, and had doubled his portion, as well. The master was very well pleased with both of these men. The third came forward to return the one talent that had been left to him. He had simply buried the money in the ground, for safekeeping, and so there was no return on the investment. The master was angry with this man, for he had been a lazy and wicked steward of the talent that had been left with him. Hence, the verse that Obama cited (Matt 20:29): For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away.
The first problem with this attempt at proselytizing: Obama neglected to state the latter half of the scripture he was quoting, with good reason. The second part of that verse would essentially blow much of his entitlement policy out of the water, at least where Christians are concerned. This is because it simply states that he who has little, will have even that taken away if he is not a good steward of that gift! What is implied in the parable is that two of the servants were willing to work while the master was gone, whereas the one servant schemed to find a way to do no further work. The anger of the master, upon learning this, clearly shows that Jesus is illustrating that we are to work, not sit back and wait for someone to give us something for doing nothing. If we Christians are to adhere to scripture, as the President is suggesting, then based on this scripture we should be voting for lawmakers who will shrink the welfare state, not continue to expand it. The correct interpretation is that it would be wrong to enable more people to accept money for doing nothing other than to apply for it. The President’s unintended message is that it should clearly be our moral obligation to vote every socialist lawmaker out of office! But, of course, he meant quite the opposite.
Second problem: Obama was not trying to proselytize people to his faith in God; he was attempting to recruit people to share his faith in himself and his policies, by using the word of God. Obama was prostituting his ‘tax the rich’ policy with a scripture which has nothing to do with charity! Instead, it is about God’s expectation of us, and of what we choose to do with the blessings He gives us. He has gifted each one of us with certain talents (interesting coincidence of language), and His expectation is that we are to exploit those talents to the fullest. For those of us who do, He will bless with more talents (and thus, more responsibility). Those who are lazy and ignore or waste their talents will lose these gifts.
But, giving President Obama every benefit of the doubt, it’s possible he was simply mixing this particular parable, with another story of Jesus and the rich young ruler (Mark 10:17-22). In this story, a rich man approaches Jesus to ask him how he can inherit eternal life. Jesus tells him, essentially, to obey all the commandments of God. The young man declares that he has done so, his entire life. So, Jesus tells him to go and sell all of his possessions, take up the cross, and follow Him. The young man left with great sorrow, for he was very wealthy. Jesus then made the statement which liberals use as the foundation of their redistribution argument (when persuading Christians): “Children, how hard it is for those who trust in riches to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”
Maybe Mr. Obama was combining the message of “to whom much has been given, much will be demanded”, with the message that rich people should give up their possessions in order to enter the kingdom of God. If so, I would agree that all of God’s messages and instructions to us, in the Bible, are meant to be inextricably interwoven into every aspect of our lives. Make no mistake about it, the message of charity and generosity toward those who are helpless is laced throughout the scriptures — we are supposed to care for those who cannot care for themselves. And the Democrats have stepped up to be the agents of our benevolence! But the call to give freely was not issued from God to the Democrats. It is a call to us, individually, to be obedient to God and place our faith and trust in Him. Therein lies the truth, which Obama cannot see because he views the world through his Marxist-shaded glasses.
The reason that Democrats will never be able to legitimately use the charity and generosity message of the Bible is because they want to be the middle-man. Just to be sure ‘We the People’ make it into heaven, the Democrats are committed to taxing us sufficiently, so that we will never need to worry about being that camel trying to go through the eye of a needle. That is not the message of Jesus. And that is not how God works. There are no words in the entire Bible that indicate, or hint at, or insinuate in any way, that God has appointed the president or congress, to be the agents of salvation for us. God does not appeal to the government to be stewards of our money, and thus our salvation. But, most specifically, God requires no middle man to stand between us and Him.
The message of the rich ruler is that salvation would be difficult for him because he placed more faith in his treasures, than in God. God wants us to place the entirety of our faith in Him, not in our money, and most certainly NOT in our government. Here is the crux of the problem with Mr. President’s proselytizing: Because of his gross misinterpretation of God’s word, he comes off less as an agent of truth, and more as a false prophet, of which Jesus also warned, in Matt 7:15-19:
“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them.”
In all fairness, it is true that there is another possible source for Mr. Obama’s scriptural lesson to us. Perhaps he was referring to Matthew 13, where the disciples asked Jesus why he spoke to the people in parables (which are simply stories used to illustrate a larger point). In verse 11, Jesus answers:
“Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. For whoever has, to him more will be given, and he will have abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him. Therefore I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand.”
Perhaps the President simply does not see, hear, nor understand.