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Biblically, does everyone qualify for charity?
Baptist Press ^ | 01/11/2012 | Chuck Bentley

Posted on 01/11/2012 8:56:51 AM PST by SeekAndFind

GAINESVILLE, Ga. (BP) -- On a recent Saturday morning, I was waiting to pick up my son, John, from a musical practice at church, so I decided to walk around the building for some exercise. While walking, I encountered a man knocking on the front door of the building.

Allow me to describe him to give you a better context of my experience. "Bill" (a pseudonym to protect his identity) is a healthy, white male about 50 years old. He was visibly angry, agitated and seemed ready to explode. Although I was a little frightened by his demeanor, I told him the staff had the day off and politely asked if I could help him.

Bill, who does not have any apparent mental challenges, began ranting about the evil of living in America. He said the country no longer cared for the poor, that everyone was cold and cruel and that even the "church" was not any different. He said he was hungry, had walked six miles to get to a location where he normally had good success asking for money but was tired and did not want to walk another step. He put a large dip of snuff in his mouth and began to tell me of his aches, pains, rejection and bitterness towards "Christians" and "Americans" who just don't care anymore.

I calmly told him that I would help him. Apparently either my offer to help or the snuff had a positive effect on his attitude -- he stopped spewing his anger. About that time my 13-year-old son, John, appeared, signaling it was time to go home. To his surprise, I introduced John to Bill and said the man was going to be riding with us.

We drove Bill to a nearby store. I gave him cash to buy food and waited for him outside. In just a few moments he returned and we proceeded to his desired destination. As we talked, I learned a lot about Bill, as did my son.

It turns out that Bill is not homeless. In fact, he lives in a hotel. He is also a Christian. It was also obvious that he is intelligent. He told us he was born out of wedlock and has no communication with members of his family. We also learned that he works "about three days a week" when he can find temporary employment, typically doing construction, changing tires on forklifts and other odd jobs as they come available.

Although perfectly able, I got the impression that Bill only works whenever he feels like it or as long as he is able to get along with bosses and co-workers -- which severely limits him. His bitter attitude permeates his demeanor.

When we arrived at Bill's hotel, I surprised him with some additional information.

"Bill, do you know why I bought you food today and drove you back home?"

"No," he replied.

He was sitting in the backseat of my car when I turned and said, "Bill, I helped you today because I know you." He didn't respond and only looked confused.

"Do you remember that I've helped you before? You were by our offices asking for help a few months ago. I gave you money then, too."

He was completely unaware that this was my second encounter with him at an entirely different location.

Bill did not say anything; he just looked at me as I continued.

"Bill, I am a Christian; I go to the church where you were knocking on the door, and I am an American. I hope you see that God has many people who actually do help you."

Bill began to get out of the car. As he thanked me for the food and the ride, I had one more final thought to share with him.

"Bill, I can help you on occasion, but not over and over again. The next time you ask me for help, I want to help you get a job."

There was only silence from Bill.

He got out of the car and headed back to his hotel room. All around him were places where he could potentially find work, but it was obvious Bill did not want that kind of help.

After Bill left my car, John and I had a long talk on the way home. First, I thanked him for his great attitude during the experience with Bill. John had handled himself with love and composure.

We also talked about the importance of work and the devastation that it brings to our lives when we are able -- but do not -- work. We discussed the crippling effect of an attitude that expects someone else to provide for our needs. We also talked about the verse that came to mind as we considered Bill's future.

"For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: if anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat" (2 Thessalonians 3:10).

Paul is not being cruel or heartless in this passage. He is expressing a truth that those who are able but unwilling to work should be disqualified from receiving charitable help, thereby allowing their natural need for food to drive their effort to work. This is a profound and often overlooked financial principle.

The Bible is very specific about who should and who should not receive charity.

This is just one of the many reasons that I don't believe the Bible supports the position that government be the provider and caretaker of the poor. As with all public policy, if we fail to follow God's direction, we end up with problems for everyone. That's why we now have a system of dependence on government for perpetual welfare in many forms that is unsustainable. All the while, many are demanding even more government handouts of one sort or another.

As a friend of mine noted, "Government programs today are into making people comfortable in their poverty instead of helping them get out of their condition."

Are we -- the church -- to love our neighbor and help the hungry, the thirsty, the stranger, the poor, the prisoner, widows and orphans and those who are sick? Yes.

Are we to do all we can to help those who have lost jobs but are able and willing to get back to work? Yes.

Does that mean we demand that the government use a misguided Robin Hood method to take from the rich to give to the poor?

Not according to the Bible.

----------------------------

Chuck Bentley is CEO of Crown Financial Ministries and author of "The Root of Riches: What If Everything You Think About Money Is Wrong?". Crown Financial Ministries (Crown.org) is an interdenominational ministry dedicated to equipping people with biblically based financial tools and resources through radio, film, seminars, small groups and individual coaching. Based in Georgia, the ministry has offices in the United States, Canada, Latin America, and Africa, Europe, India, Asia and Australia.


TOPICS: General Discusssion; Moral Issues; Religion & Culture
KEYWORDS: charity; welfare

1 posted on 01/11/2012 8:56:57 AM PST by SeekAndFind
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To: SeekAndFind

I often wonder if we are far beyond the point of no return.


2 posted on 01/11/2012 9:08:38 AM PST by NoGrayZone (Stay involved..because stupid people are running America! - Herman Cain - Amen!!!)
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To: SeekAndFind

Biblically, does everyone qualify for charity?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I don’t know about biblically, but the reality is almost everyone alive needs something. Obviously the rich don’t need money or material things, but they still suffer in other ways.


3 posted on 01/11/2012 9:08:38 AM PST by mamelukesabre
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To: SeekAndFind
Of course not.

The parable of the talents teaches us to invest and that all investments do not return the same to each, but that each will receive return based on that particular investment

As I understand the scriptures we are all created the same, (in God's image).

Even salvation has different rewards for different reasons and again, based on one's efforts here in this life.

4 posted on 01/11/2012 9:21:19 AM PST by knarf (I say things that are true ... I have no proof ... but they're true)
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To: SeekAndFind
Good article. A truly free society is one in which charity is dispensed voluntarily - not enforced with the barrel of a gun, which is what taxation essentially is.

A small clarification about a line at the end of the story: Robin Hood did not "steal from the rich and give to the poor." He took money from the government (the king and noblemen) and gave it back to its rightful owners (the peasants).

5 posted on 01/11/2012 9:32:09 AM PST by pocat (In order to become the master, the politician poses as the servant)
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To: SeekAndFind

Since Christians are the beneficiaries of God’s grace (unmerited favor) through Jesus Christ, I’d say that we are definitely receiving charity. Like the writer in dealing with the charity-seeker, God does have expectations that go along with the charity/grace. The best part is that when we don’t meet those expectations (sin), the charity/grace is still there for us if we are willing to confess and turn away from sin. Doesn’t get better than that, IMO.


6 posted on 01/11/2012 9:49:50 AM PST by T-Bird45 (It feels like the seventies, and it shouldn't.)
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To: SeekAndFind
When one hears the word Charity they think it means to give material things to the poor. In the Bible the word "agape" is sometimes translated Love or Charity which does not mean to give material things.

Meaning of Charity in the Bible

7 posted on 01/11/2012 10:09:58 AM PST by Spunky (Sarah Palin on Polls "Poles are for Strippers and Cross Country Skiers")
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To: SeekAndFind

No — not everyone deserves “charity.” Furthermore, the government has no business being in the “charity” business.


8 posted on 01/11/2012 10:12:33 AM PST by patriot preacher
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To: SeekAndFind

No — not everyone deserves “charity.” Furthermore, the government has no business being in the “charity” business.


9 posted on 01/11/2012 10:14:11 AM PST by patriot preacher
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To: NoGrayZone

You wonder?
Often?
Really?

Frankly, if I were you? I wouldn’t admit that, particularly in the presence of anyone I wanted to think I were reasonably intelligent.


10 posted on 01/11/2012 10:16:39 AM PST by Rich21IE
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To: SeekAndFind

I have a couple of young lads who live next to me they are 9 and 12. They don’t have much of a home life and are a bit rough around the edges. Like most kids they like a bit of spending money so I have got them to come around and do some work for me. I make them work reasonably hard for the money but always give them breaks and make sure they are kept refreshed with drinks. I really enjoy the interaction with them and they seem to enjoy working hard especially when praised for it.

Last time they worked for me I told them as long as they are willing their is always money to be got somewhere if they work heard and keep their nose clean and out of trouble. It is nice to get respect from them too.

I think this is the sort of charity I want to do. It means giving more of yourself than money and hopefully the results will be long lasting unlike a handout.

Mel


11 posted on 01/11/2012 10:25:55 AM PST by melsec (Once a Jolly Swagman camped by a Billabong....)
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To: SeekAndFind

I have a couple of young lads who live next to me they are 9 and 12. They don’t have much of a home life and are a bit rough around the edges. Like most kids they like a bit of spending money so I have got them to come around and do some work for me. I make them work reasonably hard for the money but always give them breaks and make sure they are kept refreshed with drinks. I really enjoy the interaction with them and they seem to enjoy working hard especially when praised for it.

Last time they worked for me I told them as long as they are willing their is always money to be got somewhere if they work hard and keep their nose clean and out of trouble. It is nice to get respect from them too.

I think this is the sort of charity I want to do. It means giving more of yourself than money and hopefully the results will be long lasting unlike a handout.

Mel


12 posted on 01/11/2012 10:26:48 AM PST by melsec (Once a Jolly Swagman camped by a Billabong....)
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To: Rich21IE

Yes, I do wonder. And I will state it to whom ever I choose to say it to.

Just as you stated your “reasonably intelligent” opinion, to you, I will state mine.


13 posted on 01/11/2012 11:00:26 AM PST by NoGrayZone (Stay involved..because stupid people are running America! - Herman Cain - Amen!!!)
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To: NoGrayZone

You realize.........I was trying to make a funny there.


14 posted on 01/11/2012 12:26:57 PM PST by Rich21IE
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To: melsec
I think this is the sort of charity I want to do

well done, may God bless you.

15 posted on 01/11/2012 12:34:04 PM PST by ghost of nixon
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To: SeekAndFind
Biblically, does everyone qualify for charity?

Absolutely, yes. For some people, charity means food, shelter, or clothing.

For others, it means helping them find employment or medical care or helping them with transportation.

For some, it means telling them the truth - that their lifestyle or habits are killing them, and that you will pray for them, but that you can't enable them killing themselves, or living life as a dependent of society when they are capable of doing so much better.

16 posted on 01/11/2012 12:41:39 PM PST by mountainbunny
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To: SeekAndFind
Biblically, does everyone qualify for charity?

Clearest answer: YES!

17 posted on 01/11/2012 12:44:07 PM PST by bvw
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To: melsec

Good on you!


18 posted on 01/11/2012 12:50:00 PM PST by gogeo
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To: Rich21IE

No, I did not. And your “funny” was not funny.


19 posted on 01/11/2012 1:41:27 PM PST by NoGrayZone (Stay involved..because stupid people are running America! - Herman Cain - Amen!!!)
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To: SeekAndFind

When reading the parable of the goats and the sheep over and over the Lord says you saw and did nothing. That is the greater sin.


20 posted on 01/11/2012 3:03:32 PM PST by guitarplayer1953 (Grammar & spelling maybe wrong, get over it, the world will not come to an end!)
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To: SeekAndFind
What we should do is heavy prayer in certain circumstances. The charity used in scripture is a general statement not necessarily an absolute in every circumstance. Tough love may be in order at times. But if in doubt true heart felt prayers will guide. I think the person helping that man is fine decent Christian.

I personally had a person who asked for money at a few rare times just disappear. I am not kidding I do not know how to bring it up except with the supernatural elemental truth. I would look down or around after the money given then that person was gone. No way any other explanation just took a few seconds.

Once it was the person and a car after they needed 5 dollars for gas money. Twice in 5 years this beautiful woman with a nurse tag disappeared on my delivery route at a customer stop. I had a lotto scratch off in my breast pocket that I bought earlier. I then scratched the scratch off lotto ticket and won 5 dollars. Just amazing! He will show us wonders to behold. I am not kidding.

Remember we entertain angels unawares as scripture declares! I know for real! Amen!

21 posted on 01/11/2012 4:22:35 PM PST by johngrace (I am a 1 John 4! Christian- declared at every Sunday Mass ,Divine Mercy and Rosary prayers!)
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