Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Hired Guns

Muse Time paper 9, August 1998, by Derek Carlsen, in Zimbabwe.

‘Hired Guns’

Now that the title has your attention...! The term, ‘hired guns’ refers to those who are paid to do the “dirty work” for people—work others don’t actually have the courage to do themselves. In the traditional sense, ‘hired guns’ exist in the “underworld” and it’s dangerous to associate with people whose value for life is purely financial—they will kill anyone if the price is right.

This term can also be used for activities that have nothing to do with murder, crime and the underworld, but merely refer to a person who has been hired to fulfil certain responsibilities for someone else.

While in principle there is nothing wrong with hiring someone to do something for you, there is always the danger that you will begin to neglect your responsibilities, handing the ‘hired gun’ more and more to do.

God who has created all of life has also ordained how everything functions—there is design and purpose behind every aspect of this world and nothing in God’s ordained workings is meaningless. God alone knows the beginning from the end, thus He knows the destination and what is required to reach it. In an age where ease, comfort, entertainment, pleasure and self-seeking have become the ultimate goals, the ‘hired gun’ philosophy has triumphed.
If you have studied basic biology you will know that the moth’s slow struggle, as it works its way out of its cocoon, is a vital step in the process of making the wings both beautiful and functional. To seek to bypass this “route” will result in an immature (undeveloped) creature that is incapable of functioning as a moth. It is the Creator who designed life to function in the way it does—it’s His training ground to maturity.

God’s discipline, order and instruction, as well as those qualities of character so highly esteemed by Him are not valued today. The result is that many aspects of life which are vital for our proper development are ridiculed, despised and avoided at any cost. When your values, principles and meaning of life are taken from the latest fad, the ‘hired gun’ philosophy offers an attractive “solution” to help you escape from the demands of life. This escape mindset has so infected every part of our society that it has become a religious dogma. As we have said before, true freedom cannot be separated from maturity (Muse Time, paper 7), but maturity cannot be attained without assuming our responsibilities—which serve us like the moth’s cocoon serves it.

A fundamental truth is that power will flow to those who assume responsibility. It is also a fundamental truth that someone will pick up any neglected responsibilities. In an age that defines freedom as having minimal responsibilities, is it surprising that society is in such a terrible condition? When people cast off their own responsibilities, which are then picked up by someone else, it ultimately creates greater problems. If you were breeding moths for some scientific project and in order to speed up the process for the moth to attain maturity you slit all the cocoons to make it easier for them to get out, all you would have is a pile of worthless, immature crawling creatures. With moths you could just redo the experiment, but when you have a host of immature people, you cannot dispose of them and their impact upon society is devastating, with long term consequences—reproducing after their kind.

Immature people gladly hand over their responsibilities to ‘hired guns’. The consequence of this is that they remain immature which causes them to hand over more and more responsibilities. The ‘hired guns’ however, are incapable of carrying out all these responsibilities properly, thus incompetence and immaturity are constantly increasing. Until everyone in society, i.e., individuals, families, churches, etc., once again whole-heartedly assume their respective responsibilities we will continue to live in the chaos of the ‘hired gun’ world.

Many parents try to escape from the intensive and self-denying responsibility of training their children, either consciously or sub-consciously handing them over to some ‘hired gun’ to bring them to “maturity”. These ‘hired guns’ do not know, love or care to train the children in the way that responsible parents can and should. Families are God’s fundamental training ground for bringing everyone within the family to ever increasing levels of maturity. When individuals reject their God given responsibilities within the family, this creates immature families, which effects every other area of life.

Immature churches are very common in our day and many who faithfully attend church limit the Kingdom of God to the institutional church. The ‘hired gun’ in this case becomes the pastor who is expected to fulfil all the work of the ministry—which is often defined by the whims of an immature congregation who refuse to assume their God given responsibilities. Immature churches either end up with a pastor who spends his day drinking tea with different people or with a pastor who is a controlling dictator—either way the church becomes irrelevant and the repercussions of this touch all of life.

What happens in the business world when the dominating philosophy is one of escaping from personal responsibility and despising hard work? Is this the formula for efficiency and success? When God asked Cain where his brother Abel was, Cain’s answer was, “Hey, I have no responsibilities towards him” (Genesis 4:9). But, oh how wrong he was! All life and all property ultimately belongs to God and He gives it to whom He desires, according to His secret will. However, everyone has the basic responsibility before God to protect and preserve the life and property of everyone else—this applies equally to all, whether you have much or little. To despise this responsibility as an individual has repercussions in every area of society (not just in the business world). Those who care little about their neighbour’s property will care little about his life. When people turn a blind eye to the violation of other people’s property, they must not be shocked when they find themselves living in terror of their own lives being violated.

When immature people abound so too does the ‘hired gun’ philosophy. In such a society people are most comfortable when fleeing from responsibilities. If something needs to be done, it is left for someone else to do. Immature people want instant rewards for hardly any effort. Is it any wonder that most people are incapable of imagining life without the all controlling modern government? They are incapable of thinking about education, hospitals, banking, helping the poor, etc., without the government’s involvement. This is a sad sign of just how immature our age is. As individuals cast off more and more of their responsibilities, the government picked them up and in so doing, attained more and more power, until these ‘hired guns’ controlled all things. The result of this has been the systematic destruction of a functioning society, yet all the immature do is wish someone else would alleviate their ever increasing hardships. They do not have the courage or character to take up their own responsibilities and push back the usurper.

We need to ruthlessly deal with the idea that the ultimate goal in life is to reach a state of no responsibility, no work and perpetual leisure. This is a denial of God’s Kingdom and purposes. Life has been designed as God’s instrument to bring His children to maturity and maturity in the Kingdom is manifested by hard, patient work. God expects nations, made up of individuals, families, churches, businesses, etc., to assume their respective God given responsibilities. The neglect of responsibilities in all these areas leads to immaturity and ultimately the destruction of nations.

For Christians to look at the chaos in their nation and say it is proof that God’s Kingdom has nothing to do with nations and therefore, they have no responsibilities in this area, is a total contradiction of Christ’s command (Matt.28:18-20)—the uncomfortableness the modern church feels towards these words arises from her deep immaturity. We are not to be governed by our traditions or feelings, but by the revelation of our King who is Lord of Heaven and the whole earth. It is time for us to arise and walk by faith, obeying everything Christ has said. We need to draw our strength from Him and assume our responsibilities, willingly picking up His yoke (Matt.11:30). What we fail to realise is that in trying to escape from His yoke, which is light and easy to carry, we place ourselves under the yoke of the oppressive modern state. We then spend most of our lives in the harsh, meaningless treadmill of serving their goals and ambitions. Rejecting our responsibilities places us in a situation comparable to the drug addict: handing our responsibilities over to a ‘hired gun’ is only a short term fix that ultimately leaves us in a worse position both economically and physically. Choose you this day whom you will serve!

Think about these things!