Monday, February 22, 2010

The Parable of the Simple Disciple--3 Ne 27: 27

I'd like to offer my deepest apologies for turning to the overtly political, but I've heard too many people compare plans in various countries to provide even basic health care to the public at large, regardless of economic status, as against a gospel plan of free agency and personal accountability. I don't want to advocate any specific political plan, but feel compelled to suggest that the gospel may actually be more for than against the abstract ideal of basic universal access to health care. Thank you for your patience over the next few days.

"And know ye that ye shall be judges of this people, according to the judgment which I shall give unto you, which shall be just. Therefore, what manner of men ought ye to be? Verily I say unto you, even as I am." (3 Ne 27: 27)

It happened once that three American businessmen (men well respected in their communities and free of almost every sin except for the sin of pride, which they possessed in overabundance) were on a plane flight to Damascus together when a light filled their airplane's cabin and struck the three of them, out of all the passengers, temporarily blind. Each of the three heard the same voice calling him to repentance, each emerged a radically changed man, determined to live a life more like Christ's.

The first immediately stopped cutting his hair and grew a long, old-style Hebrew beard. He gave his $300 shoes and fine Italian suits to the poor and bought some sandals and a loom-woven semi-course robe. He broke bread and fish with his company's board members instead of taking catered business lunches. He started making plans to relocate to Israel.

The second began to speak, whenever possible, using quotations from the gospels. At dinner, he'd ask his wife to pass "the salt of the earth." He'd answer the phone by saying "What seek ye?" And instead of counting to three when preparing to discipline his children, he would tell them "even now the axe is laid at the root of the trees."

It was not easy to tell, just by watching him, how the third had changed. But the truth is that he let go of the resentment he had once felt for the various taxes he paid, and thanked God instead that he lived in days when instead of simply supporting the household of a king, his taxes were used to help feed the poor and oppressed, to educate all the nation's children and turn none away, to heal the sick and rehabilitate the injured, to make sure that weights and measures were conducted honestly, and that the widow and the fatherless were not turned away.


  1. Could we be coming towards the days when by rendering unto Caesar what is Caesar's we will also in part be rendering unto God what is God's as our tax dollars go forth not to further enrich the rich but to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and administer relief to the sick and the afflicted?

  2. God deserves a lot more than that. ;)

  3. Yes, though--I think that when you look at something as simple as public schooling, it seems clear that it's possible to do a lot of good in our communities through government.
    While there are real shortcomings of government we tend to be very aware us, a good government that good people actively participate in can do a lot of good. It doesn't replace discipleship in any way, but it can be a site in which we exercise our discipleship.

  4. .

    I think that's a pretty good opening salvo.



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