I hear a lot of negativity about America in the news currently—about how the evil rich take advantage of the helpless poor, how privileged white men founded this nation in a manner that was designed to keep that power firmly in their grip. What I no longer hear is how privileged all citizens of America are to live in a nation where “the American Dream” is, at least theoretically, still within the reach of anyone willing to honestly pursue it.
In many other parts of the world people are more or less confined to whatever role they happen to be “born into”. Perhaps this is also why millions of people from these other parts of the world continue to try to find ways to make America their home? As I reflect on this I am once again overcome with gratitude that, by God’s grace, I have the privilege of calling America my home. In today’s proverb Solomon observes that in the culture of his day, a wise servant would often be elevated to rule when his master’s son proved to be unable or unwilling to do so.
2 A wise servant will rule over the master’s disgraceful son and will share the inheritance of the master’s children.
In that ancient culture slavery was common, and social roles rarely changed. If you were born a stone mason or a fisherman, it was pretty much expected that you carry on the family business. In current American culture those social pressures are not entirely removed, but there tend to me more options for people who are willing to put the effort in to pursue them.
One thing that I have observed to consistent in nearly every culture I have studied, is that those who control more wealth tend to have more power, and those who have more power are not typically eager to let that power slip into the hands of anyone outside of their circle of influence. The most recent example of this tendency is the 2016 election, in which Donald J. Trump, who was not on the inside of the circle of political power, upset the Washington apple cart by becoming elected as President. For the last two years he has been opposed with a kind of political vitriol that has been unprecedented in previous administrations. I suspect that if he succeeds in fully overturning the halls of power in Washington the nation may see a renewed season of prosperity and freedom until the purveyors of socialism and anarchy can regroup and organize their next assault.
In the midst of all this, the role of those of us who seek to live as a follower of Jesus remains the same. Regardless of our role in society, whether it be high or low, it is our calling to demonstrate the love of God to those He brings across our path as we fulfill the role He has called us to accomplish.