Tuesday, June 07, 2005

I'm (not) the King of the World!

Lennie's symposium this (last?) week poses a very fascinating question: What would you do if you owned the world?

The question isn't fascinating because it's something that could actually happen - no, only God owns the world, and only He ever will. Nor is it fascinating because it poses an interesting intellectual exercise over which one could run the ol' neurons. Even contemplating the answer puts the thinker in the place of God, which is dangerous indeed. It would be akin to asking what would you do if you created a universe ex nihilo. To presume to know what you would do were you God is to presume far too much.

What makes the question fascinating are the implied questions underneath this one. What would you do with unlimited resources? What would you do if you could make the rules? What would you do if you were not bound by any earthly authority?

These questions can be explored without assuming the role of God. People in history have had nearly unlimited resources at their disposal, at least to the extent that there is no practical limit on what they could do. Men and women have had large spheres of influence and authority in which they answered to nobody else on earth. In short, God has provided, in certain situations, circumstances where people could act as if they had unlimited resources and authority in an earthly sense.

Were I to have seemingly unlimited resources and authority, I can't really say what I would do. (Hmmm...I take all this time setting up the questions to answer, only to say I can't answer them...interesting.) However - I can say I would hope that I would do nothing less than what I should be doing now. I should seek to use those "unlimited" resources to do what God would command. I should use my authority wisely, seeking guidance from God and managing my stewardship (remember - God owns it all) according to His will.

In other words, given stewardship of all wealth, authority and resources, I should act faithfully for the work of my master. Given extreme wealth and authority, or given exteme poverty and slavery, I should do all for God's glory. I should seek to tell the Good News, to help the needy, and care for His creation. We are called to many things, and were God to call me to a position of nearly infinite wealth and authority (from an earthly perspective) I would sincerely hope and pray that I would use those for His glory, seeking His will.

I'm glad, though, that this is a hypothetical. Solomon had these things, power and wealth, sufficient to remove most human constraints from his actions over just a small portion of the earth. He failed. If the wisest man who ever lived saved Christ himself couldn't escape the problems of wealth and power in such a small place, how could I avoid them having the entire earth's resources behind me?

Seeing as God's been gracious to me by blessing me with stewardship and authority over (quite a bit) less than the entire planet, I can only think about these questions hypothetically. But I can use the answers to point to how I should live today, having much less than the weakest king. Whether rich or poor, ruler or slave, I should do all for Him who saved me from my own sinful choices. No matter the extent to which I am blessed in riches or authority, I am merely a steward of what He has created. Thanks and glory to Him who really owns the world.

1 comment:

cwv warrior said...

Ok, I'm spooked. I know I left a comment here. I only remember it started out, Prophets, Priests and Kings...well, just so you know, I liked your post! I'll try this again.