Finding Gross National Love

By  Darryl Wilson, Youth Speak News
  • December 12, 2008
“My brothers, what use is it for a man to say he has faith when he does nothing to show it? Can that faith save him? Suppose a brother or a sister is in rags with not enough food for the day, and one of you says, ‘Good luck to you, keep yourselves warm, and have plenty to eat,’ but does nothing to supply their bodily needs, what is the good of that? So with faith; if it does not lead to action, it is in itself a lifeless thing.” (James 2:14-17)

I thought this passage from the Bible was a good reminder of our call to action as Christians during these tough economic times as we approach the Christmas season.

Every day on the news I hear more stories about the bleak economic outlook and how it is affecting the poor and marginalized in our country. The poor are struggling to find shelter or to put food on the table. The poor are also those in minimum wage jobs, struggling to meet the ever growing cost of living.

Every day it seems that I also bear witness to the same lifestyles that got us all into this mess. It would appear that even in the toughest of economic times we can always manage to find enough money in our society to protect our own interests and lifestyles.

When we talk about struggles in such an environment do we mean the struggle to afford fuel for our vehicles, the struggle to afford digital cable, the struggle to afford a cellular phone, the struggle to afford the Internet?

Retailers take all of this as an opportunity to slash prices and cut into profit margins in order to drive spending back to their business.

But where is our good Christian judgment in the midst of this? We have been so focused on our Gross National Product that we have forgotten our call as Christians to shepherd our GNL (Gross National Love).

 What shames me the most is bearing witness to the inability of our own governments to cut and manage spending more responsibly. In British Columbia, the government has said there will not be any wage rollbacks, including the 29-per-cent pay increase MLAs voted themselves last year.

The premier’s 53-per-cent wage hike is also safe. Why is it that government can afford to pay its members more but not help the people they serve? Why not raise the minimum wage? These are the people who are struggling most to survive. The cost of living keeps rising but the minimum wage doesn’t.

To avoid deficit, the B.C. government said it may need to begin reviewing unnecessary travel by bureaucrats. Why would the government not have been doing that in the past?

The politicians are shamefully spending hard-earned taxpayer money to satisfy their own needs rather than protect the interests of those they serve.

A civil servant, as the term implies, is supposed to serve the people. Sort of like a disciple or servant of God. But somehow, they don’t seem to compare at all.

(Wilson, 24, studies tourism management at Camosun College in Victoria, B.C.)

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