For a Pastor and a congregation, it is very difficult to determine who should or should not be helped with material needs. Usually, during the last three months of the year, we are inundated with calls for help with material needs.
While we have helped many, some we have not been able with clear conscience to help. In fact, the responsibility of the Church is balanced with the responsibility of the individual. Not only does the Church (true Believers) have a responsibility to help the poor and needy, it has a responsibility not to help some. For example, Galatians 6:7-8 states: "Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption;" Paul told the Thessalonians in 2 Thess. 3:10, "For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat." Then in verse 11-12 he said, "For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly. working not at all, but are busybodies. Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread."
David said in Psalm 37:25, "I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread." Please look at Phil 4:19. "But my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus."
If you look up the word "slothful" you will see it is also translated "sluggard". According to Prov. 6:6-11 the sluggard is to go to the ant and consider her ways and be wise. She "having no guide, overseer, or ruler, provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest." However, the sluggard's attitude is, "Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: So shall thy poverty come as one that travaileth, and thy want as an armed man." Please excuse me, but do you think the Church is obligated to pay rent, power bills, gas bills, and buy groceries for folks that lay around, fornicate, commit adultery, drink, smoke and live off the government? I have been pastoring for over 16 years. In all these years I can count on one hand the "thank you" notes I have received for the hundreds of people we have helped outside our congregation. One lady who called last week could not even remember for sure the organization that helped her that week. I said, "Lady, if someone was kind enough to help me, I believe I would be kind enough to remember who it was and send a "thank you" note. Now here is the bottom line. We are sensitive enough to know that a drunkard daddy can cause pain and suffering for his family, but we are smart enough to know that if we can be used of God to get his Spiritual need met, he will endeavor to provide for his family.
Just a reminder from part 1: David wrote in Psalm 37:25, "I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread." Paul wrote in 1 Thess 3:10, "...this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat." Most of the poverty in America is fostered by the misconception that it is our government's responsibility to provide the needs of the poor. This system has gained momentum through our political process and the promise of liberal politicians to "champion the cause of the poor." What I am saying without apology is that liberal politicians have been buying the vote of the slothful for years. It is sad that we have 3rd and 4th generation families living off the government and thinking it is normal. The incentive for getting a job is removed, in fact, slothfulness is encouraged. Why work for minimum wage when you can slouch for more? Would you believe I have had people ask for help who were out of work and when I suggest a job they respond by saying, "I'm not going to work for minimum wage"? I have had some say, "I can't take a job making less than $8 an hour. I just can't make it on that" or, "I know that I am worth more than $8 an hour." The audacity of some people appalls me! 1 Timothy 5:8 states, "But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel." This is not a rebuke of a person with a genuine need. This is a rebuke of a man professing to be saved who has the ability to provide for his family and doesn't. He claims to be Christian, however by his slothfulness he denies the faith. What does "he hath denied the faith" mean? Strong's Concordance gives this: "to contradict, i.e., disavow, reject, abnegate". It is also translated "deny, refuse". "Infidel means (also from Strong's Concordance) "disbelieving, i.e. without Christian faith." It is also translated "that believeth not, faithless, unbeliever (-ing)." In other words, when a man has the ability to work and provide for his own, and he doesn't, God says he is worse than an unbeliever. Why is he worse than an unbeliever? That kind of lifestyle is not normal for a person who claims to be Born Again. Even the widows to be taken care of by the Church in 1 Tim 5 had requirements:
- She had no sons or nephews, vs 4
- She had to be over 60 years old, vs. 9
- She had to be once married, vs 9
- She had to well reported of for good works, vs 10
Does God have a higher standard for a widow than a man who will not work? Of course not. A man who is saved, living for God and faithful in a local Church, can expect God to "Supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus." Phil 4:19. Then he can give God thanks!