Heaven, Socialism, And The Shire

Socialism, The Shire And Heaven

Ok. Three topics that seem very disconnected, but I want to connect the dots: Heaven (dot), Socialism (dot), and The Shire (Dot).

Socialism (Politics)

Socialism is a form of political party. Arguably, I watched a video with Dinesh D’souza on YouTube whereas he said Communism and Socialism are cousins: Socialism is the economic side of a communist political party. But I digress.

A lot of people think that Jesus Christ was a socialist considering his views on taking care of the poor, the widow and the orphan. However, Jesus said that we should take care of the poor, widow and orphan despite the political party that is currently in office. If you are “taking care of the poor” because the government taxed you and used it, that’s not you taking care of anyone, that’s you paying your taxes. Again, I digress.

It’s good to have a socialist attitude. In theory. As a child, where you don’t think about the work and cost of living, etc, it’s good to look at those in need and say, “This person deserves a warm shower, meal and bed tonight.” Jesus would agree with that.

The difference between socialism and free market capitalism is one says, “The government should take responsibility of this person.” And people are highly taxed to take care of that person. The free market person says, “I should take care of this person.” Again, I’m not trying to get in a political argument over which is right, I’m addressing my three dots.

The Shire

To be honest… I really like the book ‘The Hobbit’ and movie ‘The Lord Of The Rings’. The Hobbit was a good read (but I didn’t like the movie) and The Lord Of The Rings was a long book (good, but long) and I really enjoyed the movie.

I have recently stopped watching Lord Of The Rings movies and books as I saw it mimicked in church as a form of spiritualism and I don’t want to associate with it. But, I used to be on a Facebook group that would discuss all things Tolkien (the author of The Hobbit, Lord Of The Rings, and a number of other books). And as it’s an election year, the group turned political and someone said, “The Shire Is Socialist.”

I replied, “No, it isn’t. If it were, Bilbo would have been taxed of all of his gold.”

Now, in The Hobbit (and Lord Of The Rings) the key character is Bilbo Baggins. He lived in a nice hole in the ground, as was the hobbit way. And his extended family, the Sacville-Baggins, were jealous. In The Hobbit, he is chosen by Gandalf the Wizard to go on an adventure with dwarves to reclaim their mountain of gold. Upon returning from his quest, he was given a chest full of gold for his troubles helping the dwarves.

If The Shire were socialist, he would be taxed on his income of gold and jewels. Because socialism is this idea that everyone should have the same amount of everything (money, potatoes, toilet paper, etc).

So, I told them, “The Shire isn’t socialist. It’s minimalist. They aren’t overly divided by the ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’, because everyone naturally desires a peaceful and quiet life.” No sports cars, pent house apartments, etc)

Heaven

Now, I know that you’re asking yourself, “How or why is Michael connecting these three things together?” Well, I’ll tell you.

Work… is not evil. Work… is not bad. In Genesis 1, God worked: He created. On the seventh day, “he rested from all the work” (Gen. 2:2). God blessed that seventh day and made it holy: “because on it he rested from all his work.” And before sin had entered the world, God “put man in the Garden of Eden to work.”

“Why do I bring this up,” you ask?

I bring this up to say that work is not the enemy of a godly life. And less work is not the evidence of a godly life. How often do you hear in church that if you turn to God, you will earn more, work less, and prosper?

I was having coffee with a friend. It feels like it was years ago, considering the COVID isolation, but it was probably back in February. We were having coffee at a small diner, and while we were talking about Sylvester Stallone and the hopes of a new Rocky movie, a woman came by and said, “Top it up?” And she proceeded to fill my half empty (or half full- optimist) cup with coffee.

How bazaar! What would cause someone to do that? Because, unlike my friend and I, she was there to work.

And I though of how blessed I was to have this cup of coffee with my friend. I prayed that in heaven, we would have times like this, to sit and drink coffee and discuss various topics. But, who would fill my cup of coffee?

This probably makes me sound horrible, doesn’t it?

The only point I’m trying to make is that work is not the enemy. Work is not the result of sin entering the world. God worked.

In the new heavens and the new earth, I believe that we will work.

Years ago, I asked my pastor if there were people in the church who needed work done. I didn’t care to be paid, I just wanted to work. My pastor said that I’m quite the man and proceeded to call me co-dependent.

What a bazaar thought that someone simply wants to work.

My grandfather lied about his age for 2-3 years so that he didn’t have to retire. Upon retiring, he got a job (under the table) working at a tobacco farm. Now-a-days, people want to make quick money so that they can retire as young as possible.

What’s My Point Again?

Sorry, seniors moment. I forget my topic.

Scripture tells us that God is working to this day.

So, because Jesus was doing these things on the Sabbath, the Jewish leaders began to persecute him. In his defense Jesus said to them, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working.” (John 5:16-17)

Evidence of a godly life is not how much or how little we have. There are those who “think that godliness is a means to financial gain”, but Paul told Timothy “godliness with contentment is of great gain.” (1 Tim. 6:5-6)

If God is still working, and we and this universe is bound by time and space, what will we do in the new creation that isn’t bound by time and space?

My point is that we should pray for contentment. Look, if you cut grass, do it for the glory of God. If you are a waitress at a diner, do it for the glory of God. If you’re a scientist shooting rockets into space, do it for the glory of God.

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