Who’s job is it to take care of the poor and the needy? Maybe I’m qualified to answer that… maybe not. I do work for an organization that has a mission of releasing children from poverty around the globe. Yes, we have poor in the USA as well, but other organizations have a focus here on the home front. Apparently, there was a time we tried to do both and it didn’t work out to well so the part of the organization that was set up to focus on poor children in the US was spun off into a separate non-profit.
So the question still remains, who is going to take care of the poor? The Government? The Church? Other Non-profits? Your Neighbors? Who??? Who SHOULD take care of the poor?
Let’s pretend for a second that you are in college and you work really hard to get good grades. Think about how you would feel if all that hard work you put into school to get good grades was averaged out with everyone else. Would you still get A’s on your tests and graduate at the top of your class? No, all that hard work would have helped bring up the grades of those who did not work as hard and all that hard work you put in would not have been credited to you. My point is, when you tax the wealthy more they have less incentive to work hard and less incentive to give to charity. Over the past 4 years charity donations in this country have dropped like a rock. There are several factors for this, one of which is the down economy. The other reason is that when the government takes more money from the wealthy through higher taxes, they give less money to charity.
Government sponsored welfare, which uses public tax revenue to supplement the income of the underemployed or unemployed, will sometimes have the effect of recipients becoming dependent on the government handout rather than trying to improve their situation. Every place where socialism/communism has been tried on a national scale, it has failed to remove the class distinctions in society and ultimately led to failure of the nation. The former Soviet Union, Cuba, and Greece just to name a few. And when it has been tried on a local scale it has also failed. Just take a look at Detroit.
The biblical commands and exhortations for caring for the poor are more individual than societal. In other words, each Christian is encouraged to do what he can to help the poor (give to local food banks, volunteer in soup kitchens, donate to charities that help the needy, etc). The basis for such biblical commands is found in the second of the greatest commandments—love your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 22:39). The government, through taxation and other means, redistributes wealth from those who have it to those who don’t. This doesn’t encourage giving from the heart out of love, but rather resentment toward the government from those who feel their hard-earned wealth is being taken.
The Christian worldview of social justice doesn’t assume the wealthy are the beneficiaries of ill-gotten gain. Wealth is not evil in a Christian worldview, but there is a responsibility and an expectation to be a good steward of one’s wealth (because all wealth comes from God). Today’s social justice operates under the unspoken assumption that the wealthy are exploiting the poor. Under the Christian concept of stewardship, the Christian can give to the charities he/she wants to support. For example, if a Christian has a heart for the unborn, he can support pro-life agencies with his time, talent and money. Under the contemporary form of social justice, it is those in power within the government who get to decide who receives the redistributed wealth. We have no control over what the government does with our tax money, and more often than not, that money goes to charities we might not deem worthy (i.e. Planned Parenthood).
What it all boils down to is this: a God-centered approach to social justice vs. a man-centered approach to social justice. A man-centered approach to social justice sees the government in the role of savior, bringing in utopia through government policies. A God-centered approach to social justice sees Christ as Savior, bringing heaven to earth when He returns. At His return, He will restore all things and execute perfect justice. Until then, Christians express God’s love and justice by showing kindness and mercy to those less fortunate. Does this always happen and do all Christians always do this? Unfortunately no… Why is this? Again many reasons, one of which is the sin problem we all have and the another reason is this; The government stepped into a role it should have never stepped into when it started giving handouts. Government handouts are not the answer… the answer is those handouts should be coming from local and national charities, such as Compassion International.
This post was started after the info below was being passed around Facebook and other social networks…
The 5 Best Sentences You’ll Ever Read
1. You cannot legislate the poor into prosperity by legislating the wealthy out of prosperity.
2. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving.
3. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else.
4. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it!
5. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that is the beginning of the end of any nation.