A Political Parable for Today
The rich young politician (Luke 18:18-25) was leaving his estate on his way to his congressional seat. His party was on the verge of a major political triumph; they had managed to convince the public through an onslaught of books, articles and an elaborate media campaign, to eradicate every social program that would benefit the poor, the elderly and those who could not afford to pay for medical expenses.
He decided to walk to work that day for it was a lovely morning and as he savored the fresh spring air, he relished the thought of an impending political victory.
As he rounded a corner, he was startled to find that he was suddenly face to face with another man who was blocking his way. He was smiling and the politician smiled back, feeling no fear at the sudden encounter. He looked at the man and even though he had never seen him before there was something about him that was very familiar. Was he someone he had met previously?
“I need to talk to you,” the stranger said. “I know what you are about to do this morning and I need you to see that what you are doing is not according to the word of God.”
At that the rich young politician was taken aback for he was a professed Christian and everything he did he thought glowed with Divine approval.
“Who are you?” he stammered.
“I thought you knew Me.” The stranger replied. Then He gazed back beyond the man toward his elaborate mansion. “You know those who can afford to take care of My poor should do so. I could ask you to sell all you have and give it to them, but you aren’t even willing to pay more in taxes. I have blessed you abundantly so you can help in this way. You have read My word. I thought you knew My heart.”
The rich young politician was rendered speechless. “Who are you?” He stammered again.
The stranger looked at him sadly, and then as He turned to walk away He said again, “I thought you knew Me.” Then He walked past the politician and continued down the sidewalk, rounded a corner and disappeared from view.
Bewildered, the rich young politician was watching Him leave when his cell phone rang. He answered it and the voice he heard distracted him with some necessities for the day’s work. He finished the conversation as he hurried to his destination and he never looked back.
The rich young politician and his parties’ agenda was successfully implemented. All those economy draining social programs designed to help the elderly and provide medical aid for the poor were eliminated. In the meantime, John and Sarah were struggling to care for their aging father who had a variety of medical issues the family could not afford to pay for.
“I have an idea,” Sarah said. “Let’s take Dad and sit him down on the sidewalk by the rich man’s house. Maybe he’ll have compassion on our father and let some of his wealth trickle down to help him” (Luke 16: 20-25).
Her brother thought that was a great idea and so they carried their father who was to sick to walk over the rich man’s house and laid him by the gate. “We’ll be back in a little while, Daddy; everything’s going to be okay.”
Their father smiled weakly.
Hours passed. Finally a sleek limousine pulled into the driveway. It stopped momentarily and the elderly beggar looked up hopefully. He couldn’t see the rich man’s face through the tinted windows, so he didn’t see the rich man turn his head away from beholding the poor man’s need. Then the gate slid open and the limousine disappeared down the long winding driveway as the gate slammed shut with a metallic roar that resounded like a blow to crush the soul of the old man in his poverty.
The elderly man died and so did the rich man and all of the politicians for it is has been placed on man’s agenda to eventually do so no matter who you are. The politicians were among an enormous collection of souls and as they all waited expectantly; the Lord Jesus began to weave His way through the multitudes. He seemed to be separating them (Matthew 25:31-46). One group was sifted to His right; the others that remained were designated to stand by His left. Among those gathered to the left were the politicians and many others who were also waiting expectantly to receive their eternal rewards.
Then the Lord spoke to those believers in Him who He had positioned at His right hand. “Enter the paradise that has been prepared for you from eternity, for I was hungry, and you gave Me food: I was thirsty, and you gave Me drink: I was a stranger, and you took Me in:
naked, and you clothed Me: I was sick, and you visited Me: I was in prison, and you came to Me.”
Then He turned to face those He had gathered to stand on his left. “Depart from Me you cursed. For I was hungry and you did not feed Me, I was sick and you didn’t meet My needs.”
Then one of the politicians stammered, “But Lord, when did we see You hungry and sick and didn’t help You? We would have helped You, You’re the head guy, and we always favored the head guys.”
The Lord was amazed that they still didn’t get it. Then He gave them the punchline. “If you have not done it to one of the least of these, you have not done it to Me.”
He waited a few moments to see if any of them were willing to repent. No one said a word. Then the Lord said, “I want to show you something.”
Then He moved His hand across the sky and as He did a scene emerged from the ripples His hand made in the air. The picture in the sky above their heads depicted a large imbalanced scale (Revelation 6:5, 6). It was included with other persecutors of the people in the last days on earth. In the top part of the scale that was being held up so high, was a portrait of the world’s economy that favored the rich elite and the inflation it produced through greed and its efforts to “hurt not the oil and the wine.” These luxury items were easily affordable to the rich no matter how high prices became, but at the same time this system elevated the cost of everything until the basic necessities of life were no longer within reach of the needy.
The weight of the world’s neglected poor was collected on the lower scale and their lack continued to push those on the top farther and farther above their heads. The elite on the top were so far removed from those on the bottom they could no longer see them or their need.
Then the Lord spoke, "This is a portrait of ‘a generation, whose teeth are as swords and their jaw teeth as knives, to devour the poor from off the earth, and the needy from among men’ (Proverbs 30:14). By favoring the rich at the expense of My poor, the world has produced an imbalanced economy that oppresses My needy ones. This is the system you helped to build, even though some of you thought I was in favor of your agenda.”
Then the picture in the sky began to waver and suddenly they were all beholding a scene of contagious joy as they witnessed the early Christian church sell its goods to pool into one fund so that everyone’s needs would be met (Acts 4:34,35).
“This is the system that I have ordained; that people would be willing to share what they have to help others. It is not My will that any should go without food, clean water, adequate housing or medical care no matter who they are.”
Then the Lord paused before He resumed and spoke sadly. “This is My ideal, but it only lasted for a short while on earth, because the sins of men’s hearts are the same, they are all prone to covetousness. I am coming quickly and soon there will be no time to repent. Those who have truly received My cross, share My heart, and these are the ones I have chosen to share My throne.”
He stared at the faces before Him as the sky began to roll and quake and the sound of thunder jolted the rich young politician awake.
The thunder’s roar was instantly replaced by the persistent ringing of his alarm clock. He sat bolt upright as the impact of the dream he had just experienced began to thoroughly grip his soul. This was the day he was to cast his vote. He had been so sure that those things he had placed upon his agenda were right and in the will of God. Or was he merely following the crowd, embracing the views of his peers – or the hidden covetousness of his own heart? The thought made him quiver.
He was trembling now with uncertainty. In a few hours he must cast his vote. What should it be?
“What distinguishes a nation from third world status is the level of care it bestows to its poor”
Copyright 2009 by H.D. Shively