What does the Bible say about taking care of the poor? Who is supposed to met the needs of those who can not care for themselves?
First I'd like to point out that the Bible says there is no free ride. Only those who truly are in need, and can not help themselves, are deserving of assistance. In 2 Thessalonians 3:10 it says:
"...we gave you this rule" 'Whoever does not work should not eat."
Paul goes on to write in verse 11: "Yet we hear that some of you are living idle lives, refusing to work and wasting time meddling in other people's business. In the name of the Lord Jesus Chist, we appeal to such people--no, we command them: settle down and get to work. Earn your own living."
Paul is talking to people who could work, but "refuse to do so."
I have read criticisms of this passage saying that it is used to treat needy people badly. This is not a correct understanding of what Paul is saying. He is not telling the disabled, the elderly, or others who can not work that they should not receive charity. But those who are capable of working, need to work or they don't eat.
What if there are no jobs? First we need to look at a fundamental problem.
We are in a situation in which unemployment is above 9% and jobs are difficult to find. Who are we turning to to create jobs? The government. The government has taken over GM and Chrysler to save jobs. The government is spending vast sums of money as a stimulus to create jobs. Meanwhile the government pays people to do nothing while they wait for jobs to be created.
I can hear people saying that this is the loving and compassionate thing to do. Is that true? What does the Bible say we should do?
Can governments be loving and compassionate? No. It is people are can be loving and compassionate. We are to show that love and compassion by helping our neighbor when they need help. Here is a key reason why this is best... because we know our neighbor. We have a personal relationship with our neighbors. We know those who are in need, and those who are trying to get a free ride would quickly be revealed.
We have open our home to people in need. In one case the husband always had an excuse for not taking a job, even when I arranged one for him. He was capably of working, a job was available, he refused to work... he did not deserve to eat. Instead he found a way to live off free handouts from the government.
The point is, if those in need are help by their family and friends, those who need help will get it and freeloaders will have to learn how work and help others who are in need.
No, the Biblical command to work or you don't eat is not cruel. It is wise. It is truly loving and caring about other people.
Labels: functions of government, government, helping the poor, welfare