Today I would like to share some thoughts from a newsletter article written by author Rob Slane. Everything you see in quotations in this article are direct quotes from him. I found his perspectives spot on and moving to my heart. I must thank ORRIN WOODWARD and the TEAM leadership for helping me to start thinking again through the LIFE education system materials!!
I have come to believe that the after almost a hundred years of the ” Welfare State” looking after our poor that this system does not and can not possibly work as many countries are experiencing right now and the United States is on the fast-track to the same type of collapse. “Margaret Thatcher once remarked that the problem with socialism is that sooner or later you run out of other people’s money”. Slane points to five principles of why the “Welfare State” does not work in the long run. “The first is that it is a system based on the forced redistribution of wealth from one group of people to another.” When we are threatened with jail in order for the state to collect and give to the poor, we are talking about unwilling and unhealthy giving. “Second, the state is not, and was never meant to be, an instrument of grace”. Government was meant to control lawlessness, give us some judicial order or civility, rules of the road if you will to prevent chaos and largely is a top down organization whose primary concern should be instituting justice for all, not charity. “Third, the Welfare State encourages apathy among those who receive from it. The old adage goes, Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day; teach him how to fish and he will eat for a lifetime”. It’s amazing to me how many people adapt their lifestyle to eat free fish when they should be out fishing. I feel the Welfare State has created an entitlement mentality that has to be addressed or we will certainly follow the same path of many of the Western nations current and past history. “Fourth, it discourages genuine charity”. When we are forced to give up large percentages of income to the Welfare State in taxes, it only makes sense that people will say I already gave at the office so that should be more than enough for the state to handle the issues! That leads us to the core issue. “The fundamental problem with the Welfare State is that it lacks the omniscience needed in order to carry out what it purports to do–that is, to be a benefactor to the poor. Even leaving aside its dubious methods of collecting money, it would need to know the circumstances of each individual, each family and each community in order to know how best to allocate its resources and how to do so without inducing great harm.” We all know that this is not possible by some giant institution. That is why our system is failing, it is not based on sound principles!
So what then do we do? I have always had my best results looking to Biblical principle when addressing issues and I love what Slane offers from the Biblical alternative. “The first principle of Biblical welfare is individual giving, not the mass redistribution of wealth”. He goes on to illustrate with the parable of how the Good Samaritan stopped and took care of the robbed and beaten fellow man who was truly in need. He did not demand anything of others but did what he could with what he had! “The second principle of Biblical welfare is that it ought, in the main, to be personal and relational”. We do as part of our giving support children very far away who we have not yet even met, but we understand that God wants us to help those he puts in front of us, serving them as Jesus modeled for all to follow. “The third principle is that families are meant to be self-contained units of welfare”. Our family systems have been broken down with man-made mobility, media programming and an overall assault in all areas of morality. Broken homes are now almost the norm, I say we need to pick up our Bibles again and start living according the word! Our primary responsibility is to raise God’s children in his ways. I love Slane’s perspective on our responsibility for our parents-”they changed your diapers when you were helpless; you change theirs when they are helpless”. I do not want the state to take care of my family. “The fourth principle of Biblical welfare says that where individuals and families are either unable or unwilling to take care for their own, it is the Church that is to be the means of grace and the instrument of charity”. This is not a forced welfare but rather small communities of Christians looking out for those who are in genuine need and freely giving what they can to their fellow man! “The Gospel is a social gospel” and we know we are not saved by our works-but only by our faith. So we truly have the answers in front of us now to do what we are called to do for our short time on earth. It is time for all to take a stand and to love and serve thy neighbor to the best of our ability. The time has come for us to be on the battleground with all Christians. I’m sure God will be pleased as we seize this time in the years to come to show him our best. Thank you ORRIN WOODWARD and the TEAM for leading the way!!! God Bless you all, Bob