I came across this quote today. It’s from a well-known Baptist minister, Dr. Adrian Rogers:
“You cannot legislate the poor into freedom by legislating the wealthy out of freedom. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that my dear friend is about the end of any nation. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it.”
This quote–and the events of the past week–generated some random thoughts that I feel compelled to share with you now.
–So far this year–among many other acts of service–our church has clothed hundreds of kids in Afghanistan and is feeding 50 families a week at a local school–not because we are being forced to, but because we want to. Having $10,000 taken from us–by force or law–and then given to these groups would have been an altogether different experience.
–Wealthy people are not the enemy. I praise God for the wealthy people who have given generously to God’s work all around the world. Having wealth is not bad; loving wealth is bad. Wealthy people build hospitals, colleges, and churches. They publish newspapers, magazines, and books. They fund research that heals diseases. Wealthy people build businesses that employ people. Ever been hired by a poor person?
–The Bible teaches that people who work hard deserve to be paid well.
For the Scripture says, “Do not muzzle the ox while it is treading out the grain,” and “The worker deserves his wages.”
–Why should I be entitled to another person’s wealth when I had nothing to do with the accumulation of that wealth? That feels like stealing to me and that’s a violation of the 8th Commandment (yes, I just sang the song in my head! :)).
–Jesus cared about sick people.
Matthew 8:16 When evening came, many who were demon-possessed were brought to him, and he drove out the spirits with a word and healed all the sick.
Matthew 14:14 When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick.
–The Bible teaches that God expects people to work if they are able to work.
–2 Thessalonians 3:10 For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: “If a man will not work, he shall not eat.”
–God cares about needy people and wants us to care about them too.
There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be open-handed toward your brothers and toward the poor and needy in your land.
–Freedom is good; slavery is bad. The “yoke of slavery” that Paul refers to is the law–and the legalism associated with those who love the law more than they love people. Because I’ve tasted grace, I’m repulsed by anything flavored with legalism. In my experience, laws are not instruments of true compassion, but instruments of true control.
It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.
–My citizenship is in Heaven. This world is not my home. My hope does not come from Washington, but from Heaven. And my Savior is not up for re-election…ever.
Philippians 3:20 But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ,
What thoughts does Dr. Rogers’ quote–and the events of the past week–stir in your mind? I’d love to know.