How to Turn Oppressive Government to Praise

I am currently listening to an audiobook by Tony Evans entitled, “How Should Christians Vote?”  (If you’re curious, it is free to download this month from  Figured it is a timely book for this election season, possibly giving me justification for my candidate of choice or perhaps challenging me to think more about my rights as a participant in this American democracy.  Even if I don’t learn anything new or don’t gain any new perspectives, it might help me to reorganize my thoughts as a civics teacher.

Today a quote stuck out to me and, for a rare moment, I will say that the context is not as important as the immediate words themselves.  Tony Evans is quoted saying, “An overextended government, an overtaxed citizenry limits the freedoms of individuals to pursue their callings under God…”  Indeed, there is more meaning to his words (in context) than I am about to share, but the personal application of that quote led me to many thoughts.

This is a fair assessment, in my opinion, of the United States’s government in 2012.  Politicians have overstepped their boundaries as established by the Constitution and the government has assumed far more responsibilities than the divine institution of civil government is designed for.  The political body has well intentions, but instead of liberating the citizen base and empowering them with self-sufficiency it binds them with dependency upon the state.  Excessive taxes stifle economic growth and cause more anxiety than necessary for the average American.

I fall into that category as a college educated individual, working long hours but making a low income.  I don’t blame the government for such struggles because my situation is a personal choice; I sacrifice pay for something I love and feel like I am making a difference in students’ lives.  But I do feel the economic pressures as a typical consumer.  Prices are rising while salaries are stagnant.  Politicians are calling for an increase in taxes to account for the climbing national debt and record numbers of welfare recipients.  The list could go on, but I am no economist.

I don’t understand all of the ins and outs of our economic woes but, like many others, I do feel the strain on my wallet.  Tony Evans’s quote made me ask myself, why do I allow monetary issues to limit my effectiveness as a teacher?  A friend?  A lover?  A warrior?  When I carry angst over the physical or the material, I am submitting to the government system as if it owns me when in reality I have been called apart from the world and pledge loyalty first and foremost to my God.  There is no problem or limitation of money that is too great for God to address.  Even if I don’t see how something will work, I can be assured that God will carry out His work.  He only asks that I trust Him and obey.

It is easy to criticize the government and lament about oppressive rule.  Putting faith in things that are unseen is far more difficult.  But if the government were more liberating, if the economy were stronger, then when I do accomplish the work I am called to do, who gets the praise?  The state.  Temporal powers and earthly rulers.  Instead, God can do mighty works in spite of a bad economy and in spite of  crooked government.  Under those circumstances, the God who can make something out of nothing deserves and will receive the praise.