“Rich Californians balk at limits: ‘We’re not all equal when it comes to water”
Disclaimer–only click the link and read the story if you have already eaten and fully processed your dinner or fourthmeal, because the complaints in this story made by a one Mr. Steve Yuhas,a Conservative radio personality in Southern California, are enough to turn your stomach.
I re-read his comments, aghast, several times over.
I am extremely curious about people like Mr. Yuhas. I would love to have a better understanding of how, mentally, one comes to a conclusion that their needs are more important than others. I would love to know what is so special about him, in his mind, that he should be able to ignore such an important social issue. That’s what this problem is in California–a social issue that impacts everyone, because at the end of the day, every last one of them will be in a world of trouble without water.
So for Mr. Yuhas to imply, in a sense, that it is more important to make sure his grass is green than to guarantee that people in poorer areas have access to water to drink and bathe is simply inhumane.
I truly hope he does not call himself a Christian.
Just this morning during Sunday school I was telling my kids that how we treat the poor is a better indicator of the condition of our heart. If you do something for someone underprivileged, you do so simply because you care and hope that whatever your gesture is–whether it is fixing meals for the hungry, donating money to a cause, or helping build a Habitat for Humanity home, etc.–will benefit others. In a lot of cases, people try to get in good with the rich because they want it to be a benefit to themselves.
For Sunday school our lessons are coming from the Minor Prophet Amos. I guess I say this about all of the books of the Bible, but his book is fascinating in that it can be applied to America (and the world in general) today. I told the kids to never let anyone try to tell them the Bible is antiquated. The themes we see in the Bible are still seen today, particularly concerning how people behave toward one another.
Amos, a regular average Joe of sorts, lived a regular average life tending sheep and sycamore-fig trees in Tekoa in Judah. Israel, once a united nation, had split into two kingdoms following the death of King Solomon, son of David. Ten tribes became the Northern Israel, simply referred to as Israel, after a dispute over taxes with Solomon’s son and heir, Rehoboam. They were presided over by King Jeroboam, who was initially a servant in King Solomon’s court. The two tribes that remained loyal to Rehoboam were the tribes of Benjamin and Judah. Those two tribes comprised the Southern kingdom and was referred to as Judah (because Judah was the bigger of the two tribes).Jeroboam’s reign in Israel had resulted in a time of financial prosperity and accompanying moral decay (sound familiar???).
Although Amos lived in Judah, the prophecy God gave him while he was working in the fields sent him to Israel. Without any apparent hesitation or cowardice, Amos went to Israel and told the king first what he wanted to hear–that God would punish the surrounding nations for their numerous sins: Damascus, Gaza,Tyre, Edom, Ammon, Moab, and even Judah, from whence Amos came. He reserves an unpleasant surprise for Israel for last–despite their having been God’s special nation, they too were to be held accountable for their numerous sins as well. They did not have the right to keep on sinning just because they were God’s chosen nation. As a matter of fact, I humbly feel that they should have been held to even higher standards, since they were the people who directly received the Law through Moses. Now, as the nation fell farther and farther away from God, the manly inclination toward selfishness had taken over and Israel resembled America today–there was a class of rich people who had no qualms about mistreating the poor to further their own financial status, and then there was a poor class. There wasn’t much in between.
Let me be clear. I have no problem with rich people. I know that there are PLENTY of wealthy people who are not arrogant, who do not think themselves better than others, and do not step on the backs of others to get to the top. I often wonder how I would react if someday I became the recipient of a ton of money. Admittedly I would be overwhelmed, but I can say that I doubt my attitude would change. Do I want a huge multimillion dollar mansion? Nah. I do want a nice comfortable house (with a great big old fancy KITCHEN! I do dream of a good kitchen, because I love to cook and have people over). But my family has four people. What would we do with this much space????
I’d be terrified to have that much house!! How much is the upkeep? I am sure the owner is not getting on a riding mower and cutting his own grass. Imagine the energy bills, the water bills. How would you decorate all those rooms???? How much would you have to pay the maid service that is undoubtedly coming in and cleaning those rooms and all the crap in them? What if one of my kids gets lost in that big a place????????
The problem with money is that for most people you can never have enough. Meaning that what is trendy one day may be unpopular the next. And people with a lot of money probably have to spend a lot to keep up with appearances.
But seriously, I don’t have time for that. I am sure that people with that type of money hire people to do their interior decorating and everyone else, but I am not interested in that. I want to personalize my own home. A big huge fancy mansion would be far too intimidating for little simple old me.
Rich people definitely have the right to do what they want with their money. About a week or so ago, there was a story about a couple who blew–I mean, spent–almost $40k on a birthday party for their three-year-old. It was their prerogative to do just that. Now me, even if I had the money would I waste that much on a party the kid will barely remember? Nah. And who would I be trying to impress if I did? That type of extravagance is for the parents, not the kid. That three-year-old kid is perfectly capable of taking a laundry basket and turning it into a boat or a making cardboard box into a spaceship (I’ve seen it. My three-year-old does it). Let the kids imaginations grow, for goodness’ sakes.
But, at the end of the day, the party didn’t hurt anyone. It didn’t help anyone, but it also didn’t hurt.
I do have a problem with rich people who, like Mr. Yuhas, think that their material possessions and wealth put them in a special class above other people. If a Christian is wealthy he or she has to make sure to never develop such an attitude. I think of it this way. Detroit is close by me, and they are not doing so well economically. Yet, I know TONS of people in Detroit whose singing voices could put Beyonce to shame. They have just never had the opportunity to achieve fame and stardom. We are walking alongside people everyday who may have the gifts that would bring them fame and wealth but just don’t make the right connections. Someone who has had that opportunity is no better than the one who hasn’t. I just can’t understand why people think they’re special because they have a lot of stuff.
Like Mr. Yuhas, the Israelites thought their wealth could be a form of protection. They participated in empty worship, going through the motions of the Sabbath day rest and the three festivals that I just spoke of in our review of Exodus. They thought they only had to do what was necessary to appease God, but they hadn’t quite figured it out yet–that God was not appeased by their motions and lip service. God wants our hearts to be right. The Israelites’ hearts were not right. A lot of rich people become corrupted by their money and they end up the same way.
My favorite verses about the rich come from the Gospels:
“No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate one and love the other,or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money” (Matthew 6:24, ESV).
“For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God” (Luke 18:25, ESV).
Money corrupts the mind and the heart. It’s as simple as that. A rich Christian has to be rooted and grounded in the Word. Money is one of the devil’s most powerful tools. Nowhere in the Bible does it say that Christians cannot be rich. If God decides that we have been a faithful steward over some and he gives us more, certainly he expects for us to contribute regularly to the support of building his kingdom. Instead of building up huge earthly mansions, rich Christians should be pleased to see their money being used to build up churches. (That’s not to say rich Christians shouldn’t have mansions, it’s just not my cup of tea).
As for the situation in California, we definitely ought to be praying. The prayers of the righteous availeth much. Any time we hear of situations where our fellow man or woman is experiencing distress, even though we may not be there (I am in Michigan and we have plenty of water, but God could change that if he wants to), we still ought to be praying. I am so disgusted by this “me, me, me” attitude here in America. Mr. Steve Yuhas, you need to take several seats.
And if he claims to be a Christian, I would suggest he open his Bible, or buy one if he doesn’t have one, and read until his eyes bleed. I’d challenge him to find a verse that suggests that his wealth makes him superior to others. Jesus, the only perfect, sinless man to walk this planet was a simple carpenter. Surely this man cannot claim to be superior to Jesus.
But as a whole nation, do Americans truly believe we can continue going down the unrighteous path and nothing is going to happen?
The nation of Israel had that attitude when Amos came and brought his message. As prophets typically were, his words were shunned. People don’t want to hear when they’re wrong. I’ll bet it came as a great surprise when Assyria attacked Israel approximately 25 years later, but it shouldn’t have been.
Moral of the story–God’s way is selfless. Man’s way is selfish. If people truly followed God, imagine how we’d really prosper, and not just a fraction of us, but ALL of us.