The entire disgusting event was recorded on several of our closed circuit security cams (another sad sign of our times). Here’s what made the theft especially devastating for one of the students: he had just borrowed the computer for the day from a friend, promising to take excellent care of it. The theft left ripples of pain and brokenness, not the least of which I noted to the victims – when you come to a place devoted to worshipping God, shouldn’t there be an expectation of safety and security?
What cause someone to become a thief? What could possibly allow me to justify taking another’s property and claiming it as my own? I believe there are two things broken here, either of which - or both of which - can cause another to justify these actions. One is a broken economic system, allowing some to have so much while others nearby have near to nothing. The second is a person who is so broken, they feel they “deserve” what others possess.
Marx and Nietzsche taught that economic systems needed socializing in order to protect the poor and to redistribute wealth. To them, this “taking from the rich and giving to the poor” structure provided justice. Of course, neither man lived consistently with his beliefs. They imposed their ideas on the bourgeois elite whom they called “exploitive”. But they, themselves, lived comparatively comfortable lives.
My mother was raised in a socialist commune in Llano just outside of Los Angeles, California back in the 1920’s. Grandpa sunk his entire and considerable life savings into this commune. He believed firmly in the justice of his socialistic cause. As an architect, he designed and built all the numerous structures for the small community. But most of the leadership were more interested in a “good time” on weekends when they traveled into the big city, LA, than they were in furthering their socialistic philosophy.
Jesus’ censured a similar group, the Pharisees, who exploited the poor and spiritually poor in Christ’s day. Jesus warned his followers, “…they don’t practice what they teach. They crush people with impossible religious demands and never lift a finger to ease the burden. Everything they do is for show”. (Matthew 23:4-4)
Some claim the Bible clearly teaches socialism. In fact, the Bible clearly teaches we are too broken for socialism to ever work. The socialistic system, whatever merits it may possess outwardly, could never work because those who purport it are unable or unwilling to live up to its demands.
In 1 Samuel 2:7 it says,
The LORD makes some poor and others rich;
he brings some down and lifts others up.
This means that socialism is not God’s current plan for humanity. Some have plenty, some less. Jesus said in Mark 14:7 that we could help the ever-present poor anytime we want (indicating that those who have are responsible to help those who have not). It is a Christian’s purpose to bless others. Why? Because God has blessed us. Christians sacrificially give to others as a way to express our love for God, who sacrificed His very life for us.
So what is God’s response when I want something and I cannot obtain it except through theft?
5Don’t love money; be satisfied with what you have. For God has said,
“I will never fail you.
I will never abandon you.”
This means that God says you shouldn’t long for “stuff”. Our longing should be satisfied by God. Those who long for “more stuff” are never ever satisfied because as the old saying goes: “How much more money does it take to be satisfied? Always one more dollar”.
Psalm 37:7, 16
Be still in the presence of the LORD,
and wait patiently for him to act.
Don’t worry about evil people who prosper
or fret about their wicked schemes…
It is better to be godly and have little
than to be evil and rich.
This verse means that if you wait patiently for God to meet your needs, focus on what God has already given to you, and quit focusing on what you do not have, you will find the very quality you thought would be yours due to more money. That quality is contentment!
Don’t wear yourself out trying to get rich.
Be wise enough to know when to quit.
in the blink of an eye wealth disappears,
for it will sprout wings
and fly away like an eagle.
This verse teaches us that wealth is not what satisfies. God may give it to you (as Hebrews 13:5 teaches). But the decision is always God’s not ours. For every Christian whom God can trust with wealth, there are 10 whom God know will be ruined by wealth.
Economic systems, be they capitalistic or socialistic or any other “istic” are all broken. Why? Because we are all broken. The solution to poverty is generosity, not socialism. The key to creating generous people is Jesus Christ. Those who are truly followers of His will always be generous to others.