I had an interesting conversation over lunch yesterday with some of my church friends. Of course, in this election year it’s hard not to talk about politics. Have I told you how much I love talking politics?
Our conversation got stalled a bit on the topic of jobless and/or homeless people. Do you give money to the man standing on the street corner with a sign that says, “Homeless and Hungry?” What if he is smoking a cigarette? Does that change your opinion?
I used to be a church secretary and I couldn’t begin to count the number of calls I received from strangers trying to get some money. As a school counselor, the number of people asking for assistance was astronomical.
Who is responsible for caring for our poor? Is it the government? Is Bernie right to promise free assistance for everybody? How did we get to the place in this country where it is ok for needy people to receive handouts from the government, but flipping burgers is beneath them?
Today as I read these chapters in Deuteronomy, I hear God saying there will be no poor among you. He says if there is a poor man, open your hand freely to him. Be generous.
Here’s where I think we have failed as a nation and as the Church. There should be no needy people in our church fellowships. Yes, it’s our responsibility to care for our own, to lend a hand. But I don’t see the Bible saying the government should have any part of it.
Personally, I don’t hand out money to strangers, even if they parade their children in front of them like the man I saw yesterday outside Walmart. But if there is a family member who needs some help during a hard time, or someone in my church with a need, I want to obey God and open my hand freely.
I’d much rather have a say as to where my help is directed, rather than having someone in government deciding. I don’t think they’ve done a great job with the money I already give. How many trillions are we in debt? And, besides, I don’t see government assistance is anywhere close to being God’s plan for us.
Father God, I pray for people who have no home, who are jobless and hungry. God, I pray that the people close to them, that church fellowships will reach out to them and help them get back on their feet. I pray for jobless people. Open doors to employment that will begin to pay the bills. I pray that needy people will see Your hand at work in miraculous ways. And I pray for this election. I pray that Christians will not stay home on voting day because they don’t happen to like the candidates. I pray that our voices will be heard against government control of every detail of our lives. It’s up to us as Christians to be vessels through which you can defeat Satan’s control in our land.