Do you think the following point of view is scriptural?
If there is someone in your town who is poor, you are to give to them whatever they need. Do not have a hard heart toward your brother. Don’t hold your hand back from giving to him. You are to allow him to borrow what he needs so that the LORD can be generous with you. Any time your neighbor needs to borrow something, open your hand wide and lend him what he wants.
Every seven years, everyone who has someone who in indebted to them must release them from that debt. All creditors must not require what is owed to them in that seventh year. There is to be a remission of all debts to those that live in the same land. Foreigners may be charged what they have borrowed, but those who live among you must be released from all that they have borrowed. If you carefully listen to the LORD and follow what He commands in this, He will bless you so that you will lend to many nations and reign over them. This release is from God and you must obey Him in order to be blessed.
Always lend to whomever is in need. If it is the sixth year, and the next year is the year of release, do not have a worthless thought in your mind saying to yourself, “If I loan to my brother, I will never see this money again because next year is the year of release.” No matter what year it is, you must be generous with your neighbor. Don’t be evil to your brother and deny him the things that he needs because he may cry out to God against you and it will be counted as a sin unto you. You must give cheerfully and then the LORD your God will bless you in everything that you do. There will always be poor people among you and that is why I am commanding you to open your hand freely to the needy.
Those who know the scriptures know that the above is almost word for word out of Deuteronomy 15. I have rearranged the order, but the basic premise is completely scriptural. In light of the above teaching of God’s word, how are we to live our lives in relation to those around us who do not have enough?
There are terms being thrown around disparagingly, many times by Christians, about certain viewpoints. Socialism, Communism, Wealth Redistribution, Hand-Outs, Welfare, Entitlement, Free Health Care, and I got all these from my Christian friends on Facebook. The viewpoint expressed by my Christian friends is something to the effect of: “I worked for my money so why would I give it to someone who doesn’t work?” “Give them someone else’s money and they will vote for you.” Or, my favorite, “Look at how much all that FREE stuff costs.”
So I find myself in a quandary. I see that God’s word says to give to the poor. The act of giving takes place with no strings attached. I give freely because they are in need, and believe me, there are people in true need. I cannot discriminate based on whether or not people have looked for a job, passed a drug test, been irresponsible with money in the past, are living sinful lives, vote a certain way, live in a certain part of town, etc. I could loan them the money, but ultimately I will have to relinquish any right that I have to collect the money. It just seems simpler to give it and not expect anything in return from them, only that God will be faithful to provide for them through me. On the other hand, I have all of my Christian friends posting these cute little sayings on Facebook about, well, see my above list.
This may not be a politically correct post, but here is the way I see this whole matter. I don’t get bent out of shape when I hear about how a political party or a presidential candidate wants to give money to the poor. That is a part of my duty as a Christian. Part of what God blesses me with is commanded by God to go to the poor, see also Deuteronomy 24:19-21. I don’t see why rich people need to hoard their wealth as it creates poor economic conditions. I’m not rich, but I’m not poor either. I have enough money for food, clothes, shelter, and money left over to have a couple of hobbies. There is money enough for me to intentionally give to the poor as long as I set it aside ahead of time. When I get my paycheck, my church, and a couple of other ministries get their money first. Then what is leftover goes to meet my needs, then after that my wants. My church gives to those in need and one of the ministries that I support is specifically for the needy.
This is something that I have been doing for quite some time. God has blessed me since my decision to do this. When I began giving to my church, it didn’t look like I could afford it. God blessed me with a great job with great benefits after I made that decision. I decided at different points in my life to give more and to additional ministries. I also am generous with family members in need. I’m not saying I say yes to every request, but to quite a few of them. All these things are God’s resources and are His to use however He wants. Yes, I use discretion and don’t just give money to every need that pops up.
It troubles me when people who are Christians are posting things from a political viewpoint that almost seems to supersede the Christian viewpoint. Yes, we should be responsible with our money and not throw it away. But Deuteronomy teaches us that giving to the poor is definitely not throwing our money away, but being obedient to God. It’s almost like an investment if you read the chapter in full. We are generous with those around us who are in need, and God is generous with us. How generous do you want God to be with you? Is that reflected in how generous you are with others? Think about it.
Have fun and stay busy – Luke 19:13
-The Orange Mailman