Who Should Tend to the Poor?

President Barack Obama signs legislation in th...

Those who oppress the poor insult their Maker, but helping the poor honors him.

Proverbs 14:31

The re-election of Barack Obama as President of the United States has led to much discussion on how welfare may or may not have been a contributing factor in his re-election. And with the warnings of a “Fiscal Cliff” being reported every half hour (unless you pay attention to the cable news networks. Then you see it every thirty seconds), welfare cuts seem to be inevitable.

Both sides have strong arguments about federal welfare programs. Many in our country find themselves unable to support themselves (look up the number of single mothers whose incomes fall below the poverty line), and the aid they receive from Uncle Sam provides the resources they need to care for their children. However, our country is facing a financial crisis. One that may place our federal government in the same situation these families find themselves in.

One side argues that we can not turn our back on the poor no matter the cost. They see America as a beacon of hope, and if we cannot care for our own that hope may be lost. The other side is often painted as uncaring and unsympathetic. I do not believe that to be the case. They simply see the fact that if you make five hundred dollars a week, your expenses for a week cannot be six hundred. You cannot support yourself or anyone else if expense is greater than income.

At this point maybe you are wondering which side of this disagreement I am on. I can tell you I have no clue how the federal government should work this out. I do not know if there is a solution that will fix the situation Washington is in. Maybe we should stop looking to Washington to sort things out.

The church exists to help the poor, disfranchised, the hated, and the forgotten. Jesus left us with the task of loving those who society would rather forget. We are the ones responsible for caring for them. At some point in our history Christians in America decided that the federal government should take care of those in need, and it has contributed to the bankruptcy of the US. We stopped caring for the needs of those around us and focused on our own.

Five Loaves and Two Fish

Today I hear a lot of Christians on both sides argue over how to handle the situation. But everyone seems to be waiting for Washington to devise a solution (which is ironic for those who consider themselves conservative and want less federal involvement in their lives). We need to stop waiting on the Feds to solve the issue. Church we need to step up, perform the work The Lord Jesus has given us, and then so many will not be dependent on federal assistance.

If you want to really help those in need help them directly and stop paying the government to do it. We can do a better job if we apply ourselves.

If you want the government to stop wasting your money on failed programs, start taking care of those in your area. I agree with you that government wastes more than it spends. Lets show them how to accomplish something.

It is time the church starts a revolution. One that accomplishes not the work of our forefathers, but the work of our Holy Father.

So, what are some of your ideas for assisting those in need?


About Mitchell Norton
My life was changed when God saw fit to forgive me of my rebellion against him. I am not worthy of a righteous God, and I am thankful that he reached out to me. My walk with the Lord has lead me to understand that loving others is just as important as loving God. I am a husband to a beautiful wife, father to an adorable daughter (and one on the way!), and servent of the Gospel. I am not perfect, but one day I will be. "Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord and has made the Lord his hope and confidence." - Jeremiah 17:7

2 Responses to Who Should Tend to the Poor?

  1. Helen says:

    Some of the policies that I see America having enormous debates over make me smile because in places like where I live, Australia, we already have these policies.

    Australia has a welfare system and it seems to serve its purpose well enough. Rich and poor alike pay taxes and some of that money is then returned to those who need it most. However our government does not make it exactly easy to be on the “dole” (as we have called it since the Great Depression) with certain initial and ongoing criteria required for it. It has served its purpose well allowing Australia to maintain a good standard of living. It also offers incentive for those who could work to find some work, and also helps single mothers and the elderly. Really in Australia we are truly blessed with all the support that the government provides.

    Should the church do this? Well what defines the church. In England the predominant church at the time used to run the country. True we have been commanded to care for the poor and needy, Jesus was an example to us, but we are stewards of what we have, and some people have families and only enough to keep their family going. If the church did help these people, wouldn’t you be paying taxes then to the church rather than the government?

    Slightly on a different topic, but America seems to be considering introducing some form of gun law. In Australia no one has arms or can only use it if they have a permit. When walking down a street we are not afraid of being shot (and if you were attacked you are more likely to be beaten on stabbed). All the incidents of shooting in the whole of Australia can be reported in every state as they are rare events. We do not feel a need to protect ourselves, we feel safe from guns. Incidentally the British police do not have guns and still maintain law and order!

    • Helen, thank you for your comment. My blog post was not meant so much to argue against government welfare, but to point out a flaw in many people’s opposition to it. In America we have a federal government that is blowing through unimaginable stacks of cash each and every day and few people are acdtually helped by the programs. The point I was trying to make is that many spend their time complaining about welfare use of their tax dollars, but if the Church were to exercise our responsibility to society as the hands and feet of Jesus our federal government would not be needed to assist as much.

      I am happy to help those in need, I am just not sure those in Washington are doing a fine job of meeting those needs… and yet they are racking up trillions (really, trillions?) of dollars of debt… Not spending too much money, but borrowing too much money. I understand that the Church may not be able to take care of all the needs, but I believe we could meet more needs with less cash than the feds. And I don’t think this should be done in a way that empowers the Church. The last thing the Church needs is more societal power. In fact we have shown throughout history that we are a poor steward of power. Andy Stanley once said, “When the Church leverages anything other than love, we go backwards and not forward.” I am not advocating a federally sponsered initiative to allow the Church to take care of welfare. I am advocating the Church stop sitting around and complaining about how the federal government is doing things and get out there and do it ourselves.

      On the gun issue…I really try to stay away from those discussion, but… In America more people were killed last year by people with hammers than guns. We do not have a gun problem, we have a societal problem with violence. Our society is obsessed with violence (evident in news coverage of acts of violence). Again, if we the Church would stop yelling at everyone telling them they are doing it wrong and model what it looks like to do it right… Maybe we would live in a better world. Our only hope Helen is that our Lord comes quickly, but I pray that he remains patient for the sake of those not yet sealed.

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