Virtuous Woman #4: An Advocate for the Poor and Needy
In Proverbs 31:8-9 Bathsheba gives further instruction to her son, Lemuel, concerning his responsibilities as king towards the helpless, the poor and the needy.
Our Financial Mess is a Character Issue
America has certainly been a nation that has taken this responsibility seriously. We have all sorts of government funded programs and safety nets for genuinely needy people. No one need go hungry. The problem is that many able bodied, lazy people have taken advantage of the system. Whether we have the character as a nation to solve the problem before we go bankrupt remains to be seen.
I have recoiled in disgust as I have seen our government welfare system expand over the past fifty years spawning generation after generation of people who are too lazy to work, making them feel like victims who are entitled to government support. Over the past fifty years as a pastor, I have personally dealt with able-bodied men who have been offered jobs, but have refused to work because they would lose their welfare checks.
God is Our Source of Supply
Though in the past, I could have qualified at times for government assistance, I have always refused to even apply. God has always met out needs as I have worked at even minimum wage jobs at times to get us over some tight spots financially.
Of course, now that I am a senior citizen, I am blessed with Social Security and I gratefully receive my monthly checks as a return on the investment that I paid into it throughout my working years.
Responsible Charitable Giving
In the meantime, we Christians have an obligation to the genuinely poor and needy. The Church cannot afford to be a “money tree” that hands out money to every lazy person and every con artist, nor should we as Christians be made to feel guilty when we reject many who would try to take advantage of us.
When someone comes to our church asking for financial help I or one of our church members visit them in their home. Lovingly and patiently we teach them how to cut unnecessary expenses such as liquor, cigarettes, sodas, junk food, lottery tickets, etc. from their lives. We teach them the importance of being clean and we help them learn how to apply for jobs. Any able-bodied man who refuses to work at a minimum wage job has no business asking others to help him financially. See II Thessalonians 3:10-12.
We give them the Gospel and invite them to know Christ as their Saviour and Shepherd. When one trusts Christ as Saviour its not long before he has learned to depend on the Shepherd of the 23rd Psalm. His needs are supplied. I have personally found to be true the promises of Psalm 34:6-22 Psalm 37:25.
Back in the summer of 1949, I visited the island of Haiti where my mother and step-father ministered as missionaries. As I traveled around the island I was struck by the sharp contrast in the appearance and the homes of those who were Christians and those who were not. Consistently I found that the Christians were clean, happy, well fed and lived in clean houses. Many of the non-Christians were dirty, living in poverty and filth. I have found that to generally be true in America also, though there may be exceptions.
Next time we will get into the major theme of Proverbs 31 as we learn about the virtuous woman.
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