Tuesday, January 15, 2019 -
I overheard two men speaking yesterday while waiting to have my blood pressure checked, about an acquaintance of theirs. He was in his 90’s, and in great health, but his heart needed a common procedure which the doctors refused to perform – due to his age. He ended up having a heart attack and being rushed to the hospital, where they performed the same procedure his doctor refused to do earlier. Now he is fine.
Many have predicted the same scenario we are seeing – the devaluation of life – becoming more and more prevalent today, even with the enormous advancement of modern science and medicine which is radically increasing man’s lifespan. Scripture tells us that in the last days men shall live longer lives once again. But our culture of death and the idol of mammon which precipitates it, along with the rejection of biblical morality is an impediment. The idol of mammon leads to the redistribution mentality, perpetuated by ever-increasing greed on behalf of our citizenry, in complete contradiction to the teaching of God’s Word. Our culture’s worship of leisure, along with the redistribution mentality we see inevitably following, is creating an impasse for which there is no ready solution. This is evident in the entitlement mentality we have seen permeate our society within the past ten years, and it has become a house of cards ready to collapse. Herbert Schlossberg says, “Once we reject absolute law and adopt theories that regard human beings as simple manifestations of natural forces, it only requires a serious crisis for those ideas to bear evil fruit.” Most of these ideas are touted as moralistic solutions and hence dupe man into accepting as idols our government and its benevolence supposedly on our behalf.
Social security is a prime example, which, when the system was begun in 1935, there were eleven people in the workforce for everyone that was more than 65 years old. It has become a system in which politicians buy votes by granting benefits while deferring taxes. Everyone knows that it is soon to collapse (probably within 10-15 years) as unsustainable since now there are more likely only two workers to each person receiving benefits. (2.8 in 2013 – ssa.gov). And when there are too many people receiving benefits, the obvious solution is to reduce the number of people receiving benefits. Hence some of the elite are calling for the increase of the death rate. So the death rate becomes an answer to our economic problems because the social engineers in the 1930s refused to look to Scripture for guidance. For entitlements merely removed responsibility, duty, and obligation from God’s own institutions – which are the family and the church. Today, the elderly are sometimes called selfish if they insist on living, and it’s rapidly becoming perceived as a humanitarian deed and moral obligation to see that they don’t continue to live, which ultimately deprives others of the quality of life they deem to deserve.
The same is true at the other end of life’s spectrum, with many calling for the elimination of children who are felt will not adequately contribute to society. Even the disabled are now looked upon as not worth saving by this pervasive culture of death that has already slaughtered more than 50 million (yes, 50,000,000) unborn children in our nation since 1973. Schlossberg predicts: “Once we agree that we have the right to end the lives of those who are not sufficiently useful, we shall have to devise a hierarchy of usefulness. The aged, the infirm, deformed infants, infants of unreliable parents – the list goes on until it becomes clear that the injections will be given to those not pleasing to authorities. For it is accepted as a moral principle that some people should die for the benefit of others. The identity of those to be sacrificed will be determined by pragmatic considerations, which is to say, power politics. Pull will be used to secure the ultimate political favor: that of being kept alive or having one’s children and parents kept alive. Under those circumstances, political opposition will atrophy regardless of what democratic forms remain.
“The biblical mores that so incensed our professor of ethics constitute the dam behind which the most destructive of humanitarian acts are chained. If the dam is breached, there are no limits to what might be done.”
In Bible times, Israel and Judah perverted their government in similar ways to the point that it no longer served the ends of justice. The Old Testament prophets warned against the leaders misusing their authority in such a way. They, too, sacrificed their children upon altars, just as we sacrifice our unborn children today on the altar of convenience because another child could affect us in a negative economic way. Hosea says, “With their silver and gold they made idols for their own destruction” (Hosea 8:4). God repeatedly warned the Israelites of the disastrous punishment they would receive if they continued to defy Him. I believe God is continually sending warnings to us as a nation, as a church, and as individuals, to repent just as He did with Israel. We are seeing ever-increasing disasters from floods, earthquakes, hurricanes, fires, droughts, and those caused by the culture of death as evidenced by the many shootings we see today. God allows these as warning shots of His impending catastrophic judgment on an unrepentant people, which will be unprecedented in its destruction. Read the first chapter of Nahum. Maybe then the words of Isaiah will come true, that only when judgment comes will people “cast away their idols of silver and their idols of gold” (Isaiah 2:20).
On a bright note, I’ve read several magazine articles of individuals significantly up there in age contributing immensely to society. Richard Foster, John McFee, and a 107-year old who has refused to retire and is still cutting hair. Foster and McFee continue to write and Mcfee at 87 is still a professor at Princeton University. All claim it would be a mistake to fully retire. In fact, I do not find the concept of retirement anywhere in the Bible. My friend Charlie Hotcaveg is long past retirement but continues to work, and God bless him, just split a tremendous amount of wood for my wife and our woodstove at home. Thank you, Charlie!
On a final note, a few minutes ago, “Bone,” one of the inmates in my unit, came in and read me something he’s had in his locker since 2006. I asked him why he shared it, and he said for some reason it just reminded him of me. I am still trying to figure it out, but here it is for you:
“A young and successful executive was traveling down a neighborhood street, going a bit too fast in his new Jaguar. He was watching the kids darting from between parked cars and slowed down when he thought he saw something.
As his car passed, no children appeared. Instead, a brick smashed into the Jag’s side door! He slammed on the brakes and backed the Jag back up to the spot where the brick had been thrown. The angry driver then jumped out of the car, grabbed the nearest kid and pushed him up against a parked car shouting, ‘What was that all about and who are you!? Just what the heck were you doing? That’s a new car and that brick you threw is going to cost me a lot of money. Why did you do it?’ The young boy was apologetic. ‘Please, mister…please, I’m sorry but I didn’t know what else to do,’ he pleaded. ‘I threw the brick because no one else would stop…’ With tears dripping down his face and off his chin, the youth pointed to a spot just around a parked car. ‘It’s my brother,” he said, ‘he rolled off the curb and fell out of his wheelchair and I can’t lift him up.’
Now sobbing, the boy asked the stunned executive, ‘Would you please help me get him back into his wheelchair? He’s hurt and too heavy for me.’
Moved beyond words, the driver tried to swallow the rapidly swelling lump in his throat. He hurriedly lifted the handicapped boy back into the wheelchair, then took out a linen handkerchief and dapped at the fresh scrapes and cuts. A quick look told him everything was going to be okay. ‘Thank you and may God bless you,’ the grateful child told the stranger. Too shook up for words, the man simply watched the boy push his wheelchair-bound brother down the sidewalk toward their home.
It was a long, slow walk back to the Jaguar. The damage was very noticeable, but the driver never bothered to repair the dented side door. He kept the dent there to remind him of this message: ‘Don’t go through life so fast that someone has to throw a brick to get your attention!’ God whispers in our souls and speaks to our hearts. Sometimes when we don’t have time to listen, He has to throw a brick at us. It’s our choice to listen or not.”
Maybe God took me to prison so I would take the time to listen to what He wants to tell me. I’ve learned a lot already. I pray he finished with my lessons soon though. I promise I will take more time to sit at His feet if He sends me home soon.