NOTE: Yesterday was my mother’s birthday, she would have been 79. As most of you know, yesterday I lost my dear friend Dino to cancer. I was going to tie the two into a devotional today, but felt lead to do something else. So in honor of Dino, who was a political junkie, and my mother, who always encouraged us to do our best, this morning’s devotional has a politico-socio theme.
Four hundred and three years ago today, in 1607, a small group of explorers landed at Cape Henry, Virginia and established the first successful colony in North America. It is known today as Jamestown. The leader who worked hard to make it successful was John Smith.
The Wikipedia article about Smith says the following:
“Smith was eventually elected president of the local council in September 1608 and instituted a policy of discipline, encouraged farming with a famous admonition taken from the New Testament (II Thessalonians 3:10): ‘He who does not work, will not eat.’”
Imagine America today if that instituted policy of discipline was still in effect. What would that look like?
I always say that if I could ban one word from the American lexicon it would be “entitlement.” No one in America is entitled to anything. Random House Dictionary defines entitle as “to give (a person or thing) a title, right, or claim to something.”
Our nation’s birth certificate, the Declaration of Independence, says that God has endowed us “with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
The word entitlement is anathema to America. A right as an American cannot be given or taken away by government; it is God-given. Social security, healthcare, welfare, jobfare…whatever fare is not a right.
The Apostle Paul tells us in his second letter to the church in Thessalonica that we are to withdraw from people who expect a government handout:
“But we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you withdraw from every brother who walks disorderly and not according to the tradition which he received from us. For you yourselves know how you ought to follow us, for we were not disorderly among you; nor did we eat anyone’s bread free of charge, but worked with labor and toil night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, not because we do not have authority, but to make ourselves an example of how you should follow us. For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat. For we hear that there are some who walk among you in a disorderly manner, not working at all, but are busybodies. Now those who are such we command and exhort through our Lord Jesus Christ that they work in quietness and eat their own bread. But as for you, brethren, do not grow weary in doing good. And if anyone does not obey our word in this epistle, note that person and do not keep company with him, that he may be ashamed. Yet do not count him as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother.” (2 Thessalonians 3:6-15)
Now please do not consider me hard-hearted; I am not opposed with giving a hand up. I still believe government has filled a void where the church left open, as I wrote in my book. But what has happened is we have developed a culture of dependence because of our government hand outs.
Today we have 60 million Americans dependent upon the government for their basic shelter, food, and health care; that is 30 percent of Americans compared to just 18% in 1962. These social programs were sold as a way to break the cycle of poverty but it has created a culture of dependence. The Washington Times reports: “For the first time since the Great Depression, Americans took more aid from the government than they paid in taxes.”
The Prophet Isaiah wrote about the sluggard when he rebuked Israel’s leaders:
“All you beasts of the field, come to devour, all you beasts in the forest. His watchmen are blind, they are all ignorant; they are all dumb dogs, they cannot bark; sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber. Yes, they are greedy dogs which never have enough. And they are shepherds who cannot understand; they all look to their own way, every one for his own gain, from his own territory. ‘Come,’ one says, ‘I will bring wine, and we will fill ourselves with intoxicating drink; tomorrow will be as today, and much more abundant.’” (Isaiah 56:9-12)
Isaiah could have written that this morning about our politicians.
So Bro Dave, what is your solution for the many folks who have not? First, let’s look over your budget and see how you are spending your money. Most Americans are poor stewards of what they receive and that is especially true in the church.
I wrote about my solution in my chapter on economics and I’ll leave you with that:
Meeting the needs of the poor is not an issue of supply but of distribution. This nation has plenty of wealth and it doesn’t need to be redistributed; it needs to be lovingly shared. Here is just one example of the enormous wealth of America. The week of June 12-18, 2006, $129,570,000, nearly 130 million dollars was spent on home video rentals. That’s in one week. If Americans would put just one penny for every dollar they spend on video rentals, this country could donate $1,295,700 a week to charity! That comes out to an additional $67,376,400 a year donated to charity. Make that a dime and now we have almost 680 million dollars a year.
It is charity, the King James Version of the Bible’s word for love, which meets the needs of the poor and oppressed. Charity begins in the heart and I may be naïve to actually believe that this nation can have a change of heart to where it is the people, not the government that helps its fellow man.
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Copyright © 2010 David Jeffers
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