God is interested in Nagaland’s doomed subsidy economy

A young boy rubs his eyes as one of his family member looks on while waiting for customers to buy the local bamboo shoots and other vegetables and fruits in one of the marketing shed on the way to Mokokchung Town. (Morung Photo)
We can’t without God; God can’t without us, if we are to cure evil in ourselves and in our Naga society. We shouldn’t let evil destroy us and our society and just watch, doing nothing. It is urgent we transform our attitude and behavior if we are not to lose our self confidence completely to rebuild our economy according to our Christian values.  
In seminars on themes like ‘Wealth Creation’, ‘Self Reliance’, and ‘Work-Culture’, some decent participants declare they do not want to become rich; they only need their daily bread. There may be many more youths holding the same opinion. This is an inadequate position to take in life because for many it is really escapism which solves no problems. Discussions with them reveal their problem is misconception of certain words of Christ Jesus, such as (a)” Give us today our daily bread”, and (b) “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God”. Daily bread today means different things to different people of different professions in the developed and civilized world. Daily bread is a relative term.
The parable of camel and needle’s eye is never to mean that all those who have riches are shut out from the kingdom of God. But if people have too big a stake on earth, they are likely to forget their God, Bible, and Church, which is really dangerous for their souls. For instance, I am the Board Chairman of Shalom Bible Seminary, Sechu-Zubza. As such I had called a Board Meeting. But unknowingly I got carried away with my worldly affairs and I completely forgot about the scheduled Board Meeting. To top it all, I left my mobile phone in my vehicle accidentally, so none of my colleagues was able to remind me. The result, I was 35 minutes late. This instance shows that ‘the stake for me on earth’ at that time was too big and there would be great danger for my soul, if I am to repeat it.
Different interpretations have been given by different writers of the vivid picture which Jesus was drawing about the parable of ‘camel and needle’s eye’. However the message of this gospel passage, as I understand it, is just one and the same, there are no confusions in the saying that it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. It is said that in Jerusalem’s walled city there were two gates; a great main gate through which all trades and traffic moved, and the other one was a little low and narrow gate. When the main gate was locked and guarded at night the only passage to the city was through the little gate through which a large man could comfortably pass upright. That little gate was often called ‘The Needle’s Eye’.
Therefore camels coming from far off places with their heavy loads needed to unload, kneel down before the little gate and squeeze themselves through the little gate, with much difficulty, if they were to enter. It may be difficult or even impossible in some cases, however the Bible says this is not possible with man, but with God all things are possible. Jesus was speaking to the rich young ruler, who was leading an utterly selfish life. He was very rich, yet he gave nothing away to the poor, who were dying of hunger even though his house was full of many good things. His real God was comfort and what he really worshipped was his possession and wealth. Therefore some Bible interpreters even stated that this camel and needle’s eye parable, of selling all the possessions and giving away to the poor implied to this particular proud rich man or persons of similar characters only.
Honest economic development is a standard of measuring human progress, a concept for widening the options of persons, by empowering them in fields such as education, health care, finance, environment quality, social justice, modernization and exposure trips, with careful planning and execution, to enable them to by imbibe a sense of work culture and self enterprising ventures. How I wish our youth will invest 14 – 18 hours daily into their studies or professions to rebuild our economy, at the same time never forget our Lord but stay connected to Him in all that they do! In this passage about the camel and needle’s eye Jesus was turning the accepted Jewish standards completely upside down. Popular Jewish code of moral conduct was simple and crystal clear. It believed that prosperity was the sign of a good man. If a man was rich God must have honored and blessed him. Wealth was proof of excellence of character and of favor with God. If we misunderstand the aforesaid words of Jesus, it can be very dangerous. Rev. Dr. Han Kyung Chik of South Korea said that Jesus spoke more than 300 times about the right and wrong use of material possessions. Jesus talked more about the right and wrong use of money and material possessions than he did about any other subject and of salvation. Jesus wants us to be very careful how we earn and spend. He is in all the details of our lives and economy.
My weak memory tells me the Annual Financial Grant for our Industries Department for the then Naga Hills District of Assam about 6 decades ago was less than Rs 15,000. Today as we read our local papers more and more money is coming to Nagaland for different Centrally Sponsored Schemes and other purposes. I wonder how long or what guarantee India can give and continue to make for sufficient Annual Financial Grants to Nagaland, if it were to be commensurate with our fast population growth rate of 64.41% against the Indian national growth rate of 21.34% as for the decennial year of 1991-2001. Above all we want more and more money from Delhi and are never satisfied with whatever amount we get.
India has a very tight belly for itself. Take for example; India has miserably failed to provide toilets to 665 millions of its poor fellow countrymen. Thus compelling them to defecate in the open every day (ref: WHO’s report), and through the flies and insects we are all indirectly eating and drinking their excreta, thereby creating serious health hazards throughout the land.  The huge amount of money coming to us each year is at a great sacrifice by mainland tax payers, and crores of extremely poor people whose complaints are not listened to. Therefore all Centrally Sponsored Schemes should be transparently, judiciously and wisely implemented in toto to create some permanent and useful infrastructure. However such expected projects are less seen. We can’t spend a lot of money in our elections and still do the required developments. We can’t have our cake and still possess it.
A new system of election is needed for Nagaland. Assam Government now has five full fledged Medical Colleges with the following study courses: Guwahati; MBBS, PG, PD, Dibrugarh: MBBS, PG, Silchar: MBBS, PG, Jorhat: MBBS, Barpeta: MBBS. Apart from everything being free of all costs, deserving patients get allowances of Rs. 100 per day in these Medical Colleges. There are so many changes and improvements with the latest available technologies and better work culture in the Colleges. Right to Life is indeed being implemented! Five other Medical Colleges located at Tezpur, Krokajhar, Diphu, Dhubri and Nagaon (PPP) are on pipe line expected to be commissioned in a year or so. As such they have many MBBS and PG seats reserved for their state. Credit goes to the present Medical Minister. It is regretted that Nagaland could not even get one started. The 90% of the huge Financial Grants that come to us is subsidy that may be the reason that we take it easy; making ourselves flabby, inefficient, la cking integrity, enterprise and commitment.
What we call our economy is simply ‘Salary Economy’ or rather ‘Subsidy Economy’ without any tangible products of our own till date, even though Nagaland became a State five decades ago. We may be fooling ourselves that our economy is not so bad but we should never forget the Payment Embargo imposed by Reserved Bank of India, about two decades ago and its terrible effects on our lives. The situation at that time was too bad, not to speak of the sale of garments and other items, meat and fish market almost went dry for want of money circulation. The horrible impact of the Embargo abundantly became evident within a few months.
Lack of integrity and commitment is the cause of our economic failure. Jesus said “I am the bread of life; he who comes to me will never go hungry”. We call ourselves Christians but we fail to come to Jesus, and follow immorality of all kinds, violence, and falsehood, be it in politics, offices, among the NGOs or in our communities; rampant corruption almost reaching to the level of kleptomania so that, you can’t even trust your own father and mother, because we are all sailing in the same Boat very far from God and His truthfulness. In such a situation how can we trust each other, have a sound economy and future economic security? Without Jesus in our life, we may exist but have no life. Jesus is the cornerstone of our life, so it is proper to describe Him as the ‘bread of life’. The hunger of humans for truth and love ends when we come to Jesus. Then the restless soul and physical being are at rest; the hunger for truth and love is satisfied. Trust and integrity is established between man and man, between man and God. That trust and that integrity will become the foundation to rebuild our Naga economy, spiritual wealth, giving birth to successful projects, to remake our Nagaland. Then it would become creditable, a testimony to our community and beyond. We may become the kind of people we should be, before men and God, of being civilized and not leeches.
Leeches are from the consumers’ society but they are made by its creator for a specific purpose, we may not follow their lifestyle and lose our wonderful, fearful purpose of being human; which is just something lower than the angels, made in the image of God. Leeches have no head, eyes and cannot see where they are heading for nor can plan what they should do for a better life standard. Their purpose in life is to suck with their big mouths and multiply. In order to feed on its hosts, leeches use their interior suckers to cunningly connect themselves to their hosts for feeding, release an anesthetic to prevent the hosts from feeling the pain they cause to them. It uses a combination of mucus and an anti-clotting enzyme, into the host’s blood stream just to achieve its purpose. Our Lord Jesus Christ has never prescribed us poverty, ignorance and sickness and the likes or to behave like leeches. He is the healer, provider of divine power and of our needs, peacemaker and giver of all that is best in life.
God has provided natural anesthetic, mucus, anti-clotting enzyme, to the leeches but He has given us much more talents, capabilities and power beyond our imagination. So should we behave like leeches and totally depend on Delhi for our economic survival? It is time we invoke the divine power, equip ourselves with utmost integrity, sincerity and commitment so that we are capable to create wealth, invent good things for ourselves and those in need, as sons of God.
In conclusion we must understand that everyone is a rich man before God or in the same way everyone is a poor man before God. Jesus does not define how much property a man must have in order to be considered rich. Mat 6:19 – 21, 24, Luke 12:13- 21. A man can be rich in one special group and poor in another. The Zacchaeus story in Luke 19: 1- 10, indicates that a penitent rich man can be saved or the saved Joseph of Arimathaea in Mat 27:59 was also a rich man etc. Of course the danger of riches is that riches encourage a false feeling of independence that one can cope with any situation. It also shackles people to this world in many cases that their desires are contained only within this world, therefore they are very prone to forget that there is a heaven. Riches also tend to make people selfish as was discussed above in the case of the young ruler. Yet there are many rich people around the world who glorified God in great ways by storing their treasures in heavens.
“The thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy, I have come that they may have life and have it to the full” Jesus said in John 10:10. Let’s all seek first His kingdom and His righteousness wholeheartedly and apply the divine golden rules and we will get our  needs, including physical and spiritual health, holistic education and knowledge, prosperity and a well content life. It is not the riches that are a sin, but the illusion that it creates that tie us to the world. Living under the false impression of being self sufficient without God is a great danger. Humble ourselves before God and into our professions, walk the Christian way with absolute integrity and commitment, the way the world may call it hard or impossible, but with God all things are possible. God gives us peace and economic security which the world cannot give or take away, so also an everlasting joy which no one can steal.