Social Welfare and Christian Welfare: The Gospel Dissolves LazinessFriday, August 07, 2009
Our governmental welfare system today in the US is largely built off of laziness. No doubt, this will anger some. But it is the truth. In 1 Timothy 5, the Christian who doesn't provide for the needs of his own family is said to be worse than an unbeliever, or as one who has denied the faith. This must mean, therefore, that those who don't provide for the needs of their family members are just plain unbelievers. This is not a statement of anger but of truth: when a segment of society determines that they are not responsible to provide for their own well being, they are behaving as those who have no faith.
What I gather from Paul on this point is that laziness and not providing for personal needs of yourself and your family members is equal to a denial of the faith, or of the gospel. Unbelief says, "I can't do anything. I can't do anything right. I can't do anything at all. So I'll let someone else care for me. Better yet, because I can't do anything, it is someone else's responsibility to take care of me." And so our welfare system is maintained, those not working, profiting from those who do work, the harvest of the responsible being mandatorily converted into a harvest for the irresponsible.
And please note here, that if you, dear reader, are on welfare of any kind, and you are a responsible Christian who has simply fallen on hard times and is unable to find work of any kind, and who has a church family who does not take care of you in your needs, then you have the unlimited grace and favor of God upon you. Use it. Enjoy it. But have a seriously short relationship with it. God will give you greater favor for using the talents, skills, giftings, visions, and burdens HE has put within you to bless you and give you a harvest big enough to feed yourself and those you love.
The reason for the post here, however, is not to bash the welfare system of our federal government, nor to discuss the truth that social welfare is the responsibility of the local churches. Rather, it is to compare something interesting, namely, that there is also a segment of Christian society who have fallen to laziness, who do not think it is their personal responsibility to provide for the needs of the kingdom of God, and thereby be an integral part of its expansion.
I speak primarily of the kind of Christian I used to be. You would know the old me well. Just trying to get by, pay my bills, watch a little T.V., enjoy a good weekend, and go to church with my family. Oh yeah. And give a little bit to the church...if I had anything left over. I was subsisting. When our car broke down it was the end of the world. And we used our credit cards...again...and again...and again. I would talk often of big dreams and visions, preach about my burdens. But I did little if anything to actually use the giftings, talents, and skills God has wired within me to actually do anything with those dreams and visions, much less anything to get me closer to them. I was all talk.
Do you know why? Because my theology was jacked. I had some wierd theology of God and blessing...and I don't know where I got it...that told me that all I had to do was just be faithful in my walk with Jesus and all the blessings would come to me. And oh, how gracious God was to me in those ignorant times, because He did bless me and provide for me. But it was not without painful lessons....ones that I seemed to have to learn over and over again.
Today, life is different. The gospel is more clear to me. And do you know what it implies? I've been delivered from laziness. I've been delivered into the kingdom of God, by the God who owns the cattle on a thousand hills, by the God who has promised to provide all my needs by His riches in glory through Christ Jesus, by the God who didn't hold back His own Son for my salvation as a downpayment on everything else He'll give me too. The gospel dissolves laziness into the pitiful puddle of sadness it really is.
So Christian welfare must die a quick death. You've envisioned what God might do with you in the kingdom, right? So make a way to do it. Find a way. Pray a way. Create a way. Entrepreneur your way, if necessary. God has freed you from the provisions of this world so that you are not owned by defeat, debt, discouragement...or the ultimate end of these paths which all lead to laziness and complacency. He has defeated everything which holds you...His beloved child...back from using all that He has put within you to expand His kingdom and do what He saved you to do. No more laziness, dear Christian. No more.
Find every jar in the house you can find, like the widow of Zarephath in Elisha's day, and bring them to the Lord to be filled (1 Kings 17). Then search for every other jar you can possibly find, and bring those to Him too. Bring as many baskets as you can, for the leftovers the Lord will provide when His miraculous, exponential, replicating work of your last little bit of supply is worked right before your eyes (Matthew 14). Take the arrows God has given you and beat the ground with them over, and over, and over, and over again and again and again and again until you are too tired to stand up straight, and then wait for the promised blessing from the Lord (2 Kings 13). Use every net you can muster to haul in the fish the Lord will give you when you follow the lead of His voice in prayer, waiting on a word of knowledge on where to find the resources you need (Luke 5, John 21).
The gospel is a promise. It is God's guarantee that everything you put your hand to will be blessed. But you must believe. And believing means acting like these promise, this amazing guarantee is true about you. That's why those who don't work are called unbelievers in 1 Timothy 5:8. They don't live like they believe in the promise of the gospel. Christians LIVE like they believe in the gospel. They WORK like it. They GIVE like it. They SPEND like it. They PLANT like it. They HARVEST like it. They CREATE BUSINESSES like they believe in the gospel. They MULTIPLY MONEY like they believe in it.
If you are a saint, this is what God has called you to do. Leave any reflections of laziness behind you. You have the promise, guarantee, and in fact, the very person of God not just behind your efforts, but within your efforts. It is God who works within you to do what you do, for His glory, and for the provision of your needs and most importantly the expansion of the kingdom of God.