I’ve been around a long time and learned a lot of things. Here is one thing I have learned recently: The world is not a better place.
I remember when I was a kid that grownups were telling us that each generation of humans were evolving to get better and better. They would say, “Look how much better the world is than back in the pioneer days!”
That generation of adults looked to my generation (the Boomers) with misty eyes, just knowing in their hearts that the wars they had fought and the economic despair of the Depression they had endured would be a thing of the past for our generation, or at least, our kids’ generation.
The adults back then would talk glowingly about how our democracy gets better and better with each generation. They knew that we would live in peace and prosperity. They sacrificed so much to bring the hope of a better world to my generation.
My generation is now nearing the hand-off to the present and future generations. And guess what?
The world is NOT a better place.
The world still is devolved into:
- Wars and rumors of wars. (My adult kids don’t really remember a time when our nation hasn’t been actively engaged in military conflict.)
- Hatred and distrust of other races and places. (Think about what it’s like being African-American and not knowing what will happen if you get pulled over for a traffic stop. Or what it’s like to be a Native American who wants clean drinking water and finds corporately funded, militarized *police* standing against their stand. Or to be an immigrant in our unfriendly environment. Or to be Jewish and just want to worship in safety.)
- Greed, corruption, self-serving-ness in those with power and money. (I don’t have room for the examples…)
- Egocentrism and lack of courtesy in everyday life.
- (And lots of other rotten stuff)
The world is not a better place…
…unless you look at the things that may be more true than the evil and the not-better.
It is true there is bad, but it is more true that there are people who take prayer, like I Timothy seriously. They pray.
I Timothy 2:1-2
I exhort therefore, that first of all, supplications, prayers, intercession, and giving of thanks be made for all men; for kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. KJV
I imagine that in God’s eyes, these prayers are more important than the greed and corruption that perpetuate poverty and hopelessness, the wars and hatred. Maybe in God’s economy, there’s a different *currency* than money?
Maybe what is richness in God’s economy is:
- Fruit of the spirit
Maybe *the world being a better place* is not the present goal for God, but us being the better people is most valuable.
Maybe in God’s economy, a few humble, praying people are more valuable than a group of greedy politicians and businessmen who profit from being in power.
The world is not a better place…
…unless you look at behavior that may be more true than the evil and the not-better.
Maybe what is most true is that there are a few people who show grace and courtesy, who live life according to Micah.
He has shown you, O Man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.
For instance, maybe the gracious act of the young man who courteously gave up his seat for me at an overbooked concert weighs more in God’s kingdom than the 3 young athletes and store employees that pushed in front of me during in my latest grocery store trip. I imagine that in God’s economy, 1 gracious young man is more valuable that 3 rude young people.
God’s economy is SO upside down from ours.
If we become better people, maybe we will seek God’s face before voting for any other greedy, bigoted, self-serving official to any level of government… Maybe God will give us wisdom to vote in wise and good men lead our local communities, states and nation.
2 Chronicles 7:14
If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and heal their land. KJV
Maybe if we seek God’s face, we will find His grace to live our personal lives justly, mercifully, humbly…more of the world will know grace and courtesy.
I’ve learned a lot of things over the years. One is that the world is not a better place.
But I’ve also learned that God has values and plans that are different than mine and He holds me (and all people) to a high level of accountability. He gives us mandates and we are required to live and act on them. Here are 3 mandates:
I Timothy 2:1-2, Micah 6-8, II Chronicles 7:14 (all quoted above)
I hope I will live closer and closer to that humble, God-seeking person He created me to become. I hope the same for my nation.
I want to choose to live gratefully in this present world because I know the more true world of God’s kingdom. (Even though, I admit it, I wish He’d just go ahead make the world a better place in the way I want…)
Want to pray together for our nation? I started an informal, non-political prayer group on Facebook. Join me? https://www.facebook.com/groups/553733668413863/