Last week, I came across one of those “re-posts” on my Facebook news feed. I wasn’t particularly happy when I saw it. It read:
“REPOST IF U BEILIEVE IN GOD AND IN 2 MINUTES HE WILL DO YOU A HUGE FAVOR”
Now first of all, yes, whoever first created this re-post misspelled believe. Second, there is an assumption seemingly made that God has a gender. Let me put these things aside for the sake of this post. Instead, let me offer a few thoughts on the theological implications of it.
Theologically, this post implies that if one does a work, the act of reposting this post, they will receive some special favor or blessing. It’s the same logic which can be found in Christian history when indulgences were common practice, and it was believed one could work or pay for and earn some special payment, gift, or forgiveness from God. It’s also the same logic which we can see today with the prosperity gospel.
The prosperity gospel is generally linked with the non-biblical notion that “God helps those who help themselves” (for more on this see my recent post of my sermon on Luke 14, and how this idea did not originate until the year 1698). The reality is that this cannot be further from the truth. God does not especially help those who help themselves. God helps those in need. Period. There is nothing we can do to earn the love or grace of God. There is no way for us to earn a better spot in heaven, or some extra favor. Because if there were, it would devalue the work of God in Christ- in Christ’s birth, life, death, and resurrection which we profess.
I believe in a God who makes all things new in Christ. I believe in a God of reconciliation and restoration. I don’t believe in a God who just takes care of those special pious people, or those who store up much for themselves. We are called to share what we have, and to trust that God is there with us this day and every day. We are not called to do this expecting some special favor. Rather we do this out of the joy we feel and know because of the hope of the promise of the resurrection. That’s it.
God helps people in the midst of their brokenness, because they are beautiful and loved children of God. God does not help people because they help themselves. This logic would require people to do a work. Further, it does not seem to correlate with the repeated theme of the gospel of Luke where we are told that the “last will be first, and the first will be last.”
Thankfully, the good news is that God is for you. And there is nothing you can do to earn that truth and love. God’s already done that. All we can do is live, love, and serve in the joy of that hope and promise, life abundant in God in Christ.