There is much in the Bible about helping the poor. Showing mercy to the poor is a moral imperative. Oppressing the poor is a sin. However, New Testament compassion for the poor should not be used as a tool to force those who have obediently worked and sown to give similar rewards to those who have not worked and have not sown. Look at the following passage from the Gospel of Luke. Here, the Lord actually demonstrates this point. He took from the poor individual, and rewarded the successful one.
He said, “A prince went to a distant country to be appointed king, and then he returned. [Before he left,] he called ten of his servants and gave them ten coins. He said to his servants, ‘Invest this money until I come back.’ “The citizens of his own country hated him. They sent representatives to follow him and say [to the person who was going to appoint him], ‘We don’t want this man to be our king.’ “After he was appointed king, he came back. Then he said, ‘Call those servants to whom I gave money. I want to know how much each one has made by investing.’ “The first servant said, ‘Sir, the coin you gave me has earned ten times as much.’ “The king said to him, ‘Good job! You’re a good servant. You proved that you could be trusted with a little money. Take charge of ten cities.’ “The second servant said, ‘The coin you gave me, sir, has made five times as much.’ “The king said to this servant, ‘You take charge of five cities.’ “Then the other servant said, ‘Sir, look! Here’s your coin. I’ve kept it in a cloth for safekeeping because I was afraid of you. You’re a tough person to get along with. You take what isn’t yours and harvest grain you haven’t planted.’ “The king said to him, ‘I’ll judge you by what you’ve said, you evil servant! You knew that I was a tough person to get along with. You knew that I take what isn’t mine and harvest grain I haven’t planted. Then why didn’t you put my money in the bank? When I came back, I could have collected it with interest.’ The king told his men, ‘Take his coin away, and give it to the man who has ten.’ “They replied, ‘Sir, he already has ten coins.’ ” ‘I can guarantee that everyone who has something will be given more. But everything will be taken away from those who don’t have much. Bring my enemies, who didn’t want me to be their king. Kill them in front of me.'” Luke 19:12-27 God’s Word Translation
Socialism and Christianity are not compatible. Personal responsibility in obeying God’s word is essential to receiving God’s blessing. To create a system that diminishes the impact of God’s blessing, and compensates another for a lack of blessing is simply not Bible. This is not the economic system of the Kingdom of God. Christianity is equality of opportunity. Socialism is equality of result. Giving ‘as a right’ that which is not deserved is not mercy and is not moral. It is not love either, for either individual. Having tender mercies and helping the poor should not be confused with enabling the poor.
Jesus – ‘Take his coin away, and give it to the man who has ten.’
Those who over emphasize God’s love become soft and overly inclusive. Those who over emphasize God’s justice become harsh, demanding, and religious. It is vitally important that we understand both aspects of God’s character. One cannot be fully understood without understanding the other. Again, as we have said before, God gives according to His love, but we receive according to our faith. In this, the love and the justice of God are satisfied and demonstrated. Love desires what is best for the individual. Justice demands what is right for all. God certainly has a loving heart, but He also has a certain expectation of man. The final desire of His love will not be demonstrated until that expectation has been satisfied.
Ugh. .I was loving this website until I came across this Republican themed post.
I appreciate your insight. I believe that we need to encourage and equip, not enable others to believe they have a right to be entitled. I served as a board member of our church benevolence committee and unfortunately observed many examples by those who took advantage, not wanting to ‘earn their bread by the sweat of their brow’. I am, however very careful not to stand in judgment as I too will stand before God someday! This is a very important and fragile subject. We must be of the mindset of ‘ by their fruits you shall know them’ and leave it as such!
Thanks, great comments. It is nonjudgmental balanced walk. Jesus was tough but merciful, demanding but fair, and loving but direct and honest. He was always the supporter but never an enabler. It’s a tough walk, but with His help, we can do it.
You and I definitely think along the same lines. I had a “Christian” friend try to convince me to vote for Obama because he’s more “compassionate.” Obviously, I declined to cast my vote for Barack. Socialism and Christianity are not compatible.
If you don’t mind, I’d like to recommend a book to you and your readers, “Jesus Is Involved in Politics.” Read my book review here: http://troms.me/3d7
This was very thoughtful and helpful. I’m a new Christian and doing a one year daily devotion with the bible. I was really trying to understand this parable and you have helped me tremendously!
Thank you so much for sharing this, it was truly well thought out and well written. I will come to you again for future scripture inquiries 🙂
Socialism isn’t about helping people who refuse work, its about helping the needy. There is a massive difference.
Do you think it is right to exploit people?
Do you think its fair that people working equally as hard and as much should have a huge gap in their earnings?
Do you love money so much that you have to convince yourself your greed for it is not un-Christian?
We all already know the bible clearly favours the poor. If having money is so important to you, so be it. But don’t try to make out like God likes it.
Providing essential healthcare to those who cant afford it because even tho they work 60 hours a week they are exploited by the rich. That is socialism.
Socialism has never meant giving free money to people who choose not to work. You said you weren’t being political. Get a dictionary.
There’s better ways to spend your time than trying to reconcile greed and exploitation with Christianity.
I hear you, but tell me this. Why did Jesus take the coin from the individual who had only one and give it to the successful one who had ten?
Nowhere did I try to justify greed or the exploitation of the poor or the weak. The Bible is very clear about the sin of rich people exploiting the poor. There is an aspect of obedience and proper stewardship in success and blessings. One of the issues is, ultimately who do you look to – God or the government?