Free Stuff

How is it anyone thinks its a good idea to take more from people’s paychecks in order to turn around and give them stuff, like free college education, etc, using the money you took from the paycheck? The people who think such a thing is a good idea must believe people are too stupid to manage their own money.

Some would argue a similar, more altruistic approach is to take from the wealthy and give it to the poor – the Robin Hood system. Politicians refer to this as the “Tax the Rich” solution. They need to pay their fair share (I’ve never met or heard anyone who could objectively define how much is the “fair share”).

Many would say, if you are Christian you would certainly be in favor of such a system. But is that what the Bible teaches?

If the Bible doesn’t teach this, then why would Christians be in favor of it? As Christians, our worldview is shaped by the Bible.

So what does the Bible say about this topic? Lets start with the greatest example of philanthropy, which occurs in Acts 2 and reinforced in Acts 4. At the end of Acts 2 we see a great moving of the Holy Spirit in the newly born church. The believers were in awe and were witnessing signs and wonders and people being added daily to the Body of Christ. The Holy Spirit was working in their lives and they were filled with a spirit of fellowship and generosity. They sold their possessions and belongings and distributed the proceeds to anyone who had need.

They gave willingly. It was not taken from them. There was no rule or law or tax that forced them or even compelled them to give. They were exercising generosity. The result – everyone’s needs were met and people were drawn to Christ. Giving in generosity is a gift of the Holy Spirit. Where is the generosity in having money taken and then given to others? Where is the operation of the Holy Spirit in this?

The Bible speaks often about generosity and helping those in need. It is an act of love and trust, not an act of of congress. In the New Testament church it was the people who helped those in need, not the government.

The Bible also teaches us that all who are able should work for what they have and take personal responsibility to manage it well as a wise steward. The apostle Paul even said, “If anyone is unwilling to work, he should not eat.” Proverbs 10:4 says, “A slack hand causes poverty, but the hand of the diligent makes rich.” As a man is repeatedly given free stuff he is robbed of something extremely valuable – his dignity.

I believe this direction from John Wesley sums it up well; in his sermon titled “The Use of Money”, Wesley said, “Earn all you can, save all you can, and give all you can“. We work hard and diligent and we love our neighbor by helping those in need and those unable to work hard. When we allow the government to take over this role, we allow them to rob us of our walk in the Spirit.

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