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It Is Not Helping The Poor - It Is Enabling Them To Remain The Same & Sometimes Worse

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“I am for doing good to the poor, but…I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it. I observed…that the more public provisions were made for the poor, the less they provided for themselves, and of course became poorer. And, on the contrary, the less was done for them, the more they did for themselves, and became richer.” – Benjamin Franklin

“…this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.” -2 Thessalonians 3:10

This next point is one that I need to convey with prudence (wisdom in the way of caution) yet, very directly from my heart so that the reader may not second guess my intents.  I love people, and if it were left up to me to take care of the people of the world, I would have done it, though it would have been done with a lack of understanding the heart of my Father in Heaven.

Though money answereth all matters (Ecclesiastes 10:19), we want to make clear the direction and objective as to how this matter in front of us is properly answered.  What I mean here is to explain how we aid those who are poor.

How often have we seen across this country, on a street corner, under a bridge, a highway overpass, or in front of a store, a poor person with a sign asking for charity from people who can lend a helping hand in a time of need?  They hold up signs that say, “Homeless and Hungry,” or “Have no food or money,” etc.

I have also noticed, in many cases, that these poor people, almost without fail, have a cigarette hanging out of their mouths (the national average for a pack of cigarettes is about $7.14), or a bottle of booze (a cheap bottle of wine is around $10) in a little brown paper bag.  Some of them, adding insult to their claim of needing help, even have lottery tickets in their hands.  I have personally seen quite a bit of this in the Minneapolis area.

Not too long ago, a media news outlet did a piece concerning the poor that were out on the streets and found that these beggars were making between $400 -$600 dollars per day.  Not bad for a poor person’s day, all the while working the sympathies of the people that do work.

Like that of Paul in Galatians 2:10, I am in total agreement, “Only they would that we should remember the poor; the same which I also was forward to do.”

Now, friends, do not get me wrong here, I am not addressing those who are poor (those who have fallen on hard times – destitute).  I am addressing those who deceive others by claiming that they cannot help their own sad state, those who don’t want to work, those who want to live off the dole (government benefit) or the good will of others in hopes of continuing on in their dereliction of secured employment.

As a matter of fact, I have personally, and with a whole heart, helped those who were broke and homeless on several occasions because as Paul said in Acts 20:35, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

Once, while in Washington DC, I, my family and a friend of the family were walking about on a cold and rainy day only to end up in a nice warm hamburger joint called Fuddruckers.  As we were getting warmed up, I noticed a young black kid sitting on the rail looking around.  He seemed like a sound kid having some problems that he could not resolve on his own.

About a minute after entering this restaurant, this young man walked over to me and asked if I could pay for his meal, he said that he was away from home and was making his way back the best that he could, and I believed him.  This was a Holy Ghost appointment, and little did I know who was going to be blessed the more, him or me.

I told him that I would buy him lunch, and also emphasized to him that it was a preacher that was buying him his lunch.

As he began to order, I noticed that he was ordering the cheapest item on the menu.  I stopped him halfway through and said, “No, you order what you want to eat. I got you.”

After he ordered, he quietly went over and waited for his food.  Then when his number came up, he went and found a place to sit down and to eat.

A couple of minutes later, one of my boys came over and said to me, “Dad, that kid is sitting over at the table praying over his food.”  I have to say, even now in writing this that it wasn’t the young man that was blessed as much as I was blessed.  I cannot over emphasize how thankful that I am that the Lord decided to use me that day in aiding that young man on his way home.

When we were done eating, I walked over to him and asked if I could help him in any other way, he refused and sincerely said, “You have done enough.  Thank you.”

Yet, as I am sharing with you, one has to be aware of whom or what cause he is giving towards, or a better way of saying this is, what is the person gaining in the giving?  Are you helping the person to remain where they are, or are you aiding the person to grow up and out of their current state that they may be in.

Benjamin Franklin said, “I am for doing good to the poor, but I differ in opinion of the means. I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it.”

I understand from a personal experience the plight of those who do need help due to the fact that I was a fatherless kid that was raised up in the welfare system.  Then again, I hated so much being in that position (a position that, as a kid, I could not help) that I just needed a little push in the right direction in the hopes of never having to return to that system that is created to enslave by enablement (2 Timothy 2:25-26; 2 Peter 3:18).

Let me give you some examples.

I remember when I saw a man off of one of the highways in the state of Missouri asking for help on the side of the road. My heart went out to this man.  I had only five dollars left in my pocket with which to eat, but this man seemed to need it more.  So, I ended up giving him the five dollars that I had, only to find out that after I gave it to him, he went into the store and asked a friend of mine (not knowing that he was with me) if he knew where he could buy some marijuana.

On another occasion, I saw a man in north Minneapolis (the hood) on the side of the road stating that he was a veteran, and that he had no money and nothing to eat.  I drove up to him and told this man that I would pay for his dinner across the street if he wanted to meet me at the restaurant.  He wanted nothing to do with that and instead, he told me that he just wanted the money.

He wanted the money so he could go to the liquor store on the other side of the street.

I also noticed that this man was very well dressed and able-bodied to work, just as most of them.  The fact of the matter is that a good majority of these people do not want to work, just ask them.

Sad to say, many of these beggars are enabled to remain on drugs and alcohol by the misgivings of the people who should know better.

The Lord commands that people work so that they may eat.  And if they do not work, neither shall they eat.

How many in the Church of America today give aid to these “poor” people in order that they may feel better about themselves?

Also, consider the circumstances that the Lord brought about to bring the prodigal son to godly repentance (2 Corinthians 7:10-11) and back to his father’s house.  He brought about a drought, and I will highlight the fruit of that drought.

In Luke 15:14 we find, “And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want.”  In verse 17, “he came to himself” and in verse 21, we see him come to the realization that he had “… sinned against Heaven, and in thy (his natural father’s) sight.”

I am simply making the point that sometimes we are not to interrupt the Lord in using circumstances that drive men to Christ (the cross) because often, withholding aid to them, in their self-inflicted state of hunger, is what brings them to the Bread of Life (John 6:35).

Blessed is the crisis that made you grow, the fall that made you look to Heaven and the afflictions that drove you to the Lord (Psalm 119:75).
One must weigh out each scenario for themselves, for a just weight is His delight (Proverbs 11:1).

Article posted with permission from Sons of Liberty Media.  Article by Bradlee Dean.



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