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Jan 31 2010
Sergeant First Class
MPM Region 2 Commander
... or WORKfare vs Welfare
Government handouts are at an all time record high - not only in this country but around the world. Here at home, it seems that every time we turn around there is another program for giving to those "qualified". The sitting president has made it abundantly clear that those who work should and WILL shoulder the responsibility of providing for those "who qualify" according to the standards his regime will establish. Make no mistake - I am for helping those who are in HONEST need of help. The problem I have with today's structure of "help" is that it fosters laziness and creates a demanding attitude in it's recipients. The system as it is and the direction it's heading further establishes an evironment which cultivates successive generations of dependence on governmental assistance. Further, I believe that God has laid out the plan for society's care for those less fortunate and what we have in play today bears NO RESEMBLENCE whatsoever to that Divine Program.
What did God have to say about helping others?
The nation of Israel was given certain directives - commandments - with regard to handling those with insufficient or no means of supporting themselves. Read with me:
Leviticus 19:10 And thou shalt not glean thy vineyard, neither shalt thou gather every grape of thy vineyard; thou shalt leave them for the poor and stranger: I am the LORD your God.
23:22 And when ye reap the harvest of your land, thou shalt not make clean riddance of the corners of thy field when thou reapest, neither shalt thou gather any gleaning of thy harvest: thou shalt leave them unto the poor, and to the stranger: I am the LORD your God.
Deuteronomy 24:21 When thou gatherest the grapes of thy vineyard, thou shalt not glean it afterward: it shall be for the stranger, for the fatherless, and for the widow.
In a nutshell, things worked like this: a man planted his field, nurtured it to harvest, then went out and took up the bounty that God had provided. As he and his helpers worked, there would be areas missed, things dropped and certain areas not to be harvested by God's declaration(field corners). Those I've mentioned were not to be retraced and collected later - they were left for:
1) the poor - no reason for the condition being given;
2) strangers that travelled through or had no land of their own to work;
3) the fatherless - single mothers weren't in the picture when it came to inheritance in most cases or they could have lost it all as a result of debts or her husband's death;
4) widows who could simply not manage on their own and who HAD NO FAMILY TO CARE FOR THEM(another issue all of it's own).
Pretty simple, really. Being an agricultural nation, most folks lived pretty much the same way. So, those in need in your area would come at harvesttime and if you could not afford to hire them as fieldworkers outright, then they were to be given permission to glean your fields for their survival. But there are a couple things we need to learn from this.
First: there was NO collection/delivery system put in place by the government in any context. There was no civilian volunteer workforce sent from Jerusalem to collect the gleanings then ship it to the poor at anyone else's expence. If the poor wanted to survive, THEY GOT UP, WENT TO THE FIELD AND WORKED for what they got. Attached to this is the fact that there was NO TAXATION in the form of produce/goods placed on anyone then that tax redistributed around to the poor, stranger and so on. NO !!! What you worked for was yours and if someone needed some of what you had, they WORKED.
Second: the effort was on a local area basis. There was no centralization of gatherings then a mass, timed distribution. As harvest for each season's fruits came due in a given locale, that was what could be had. So, if you wanted variety in your diet, it would have been in your best interest TO WORK AT DIFFERENT PLACES assuming there were other things grown by those landowners in your area.
Third: this is often a missed point. The gleaner had to properly manage what was gathered so to make it last as long as it could as there may not be another harvest for at least a couple months. In short: BE RESPONSIBLE with what was gathered. I guess that meant no flatscreen TV nor current model year vehicle. No Dish TV and certainly no dental "grille", enameled fingernails nor body piercings/tats.
While I realise we don't live in a predominantly agricultural society, the same principles can be applied. Why don't we first sort out who is really needy and not; who is capable of working and not; who can be taken care of otherwise and not. Some would balk at the idea of taking care of an elderly relative or one without the capacities of those considered normal but that is how things were designed. Some say, "Well, I just don't have the time." The whole point here is that our society is in dire need of overhauling - including in this area. If we would see change in one area, we must be willing to accept change in other.
One possible solution to today's dilemma of too much to too many with too little showing for it would be to:
1) make benefits strictly a State-level issue. Each deciding how to best care for those truly in need. No more Federal taxes going to subsidize a national welfare system. In no case should any State make it easy to be on benefits nor to receive them with the exception of those truly unable to provide for themselves. No State should make it mandatory for every working person to contribute to any State charity fund - voluntary basis only.
2) benefits to go to only those who would qualify as poor, fatherless(Gov J Ventura had a very good idea about welfare babies - one then you're on your own) and widows(without family to care for them);
3) work would be assigned to those in need but capable of performing some kind of job. This would apply to men as well as women. There would be no young adults on the roles for any reason except those with dibilitating physical/mental disabilities. Streets need cleaning, garbage needs collecting... you can see where I'm headed with it.
4) mandatory drug testing BEFORE initial and each subsequent months benefits. If you're dirty, you're done. Point being: if you have money for drugs, you have money to live off.
5) Rather than issuing unaccountable cash from plastic cards, vouchers for specific items would be issued and photo ID required prior to use. Violating vendors would be heavily taxed and otherwise penalized.
6) Churches should step forward and take their proper place in helping suppliment the shortfall of the State's efforts. It was here - in our churches - that the bulk of charitable work was done and so it should return.
Radical, I know, but I believe that efforts like these could help return this nation to the greatness once seen in her. We're surrounded by at least two generations of "gimme babies" - all they want is for someone else to foot their bills. I say ENOUGH !! I was director of a homeless facility in the deep South some years ago and had a working motto: "if you stay here, you work here". Everyone coming in was made aware of it and was expected to comply and I can say with rare exception, the vast majority did. And let me be quick to add that if I believed that things were being taken advantage of, I'd LOCK THE KITCHEN DOORS. So, when you have a majority cooperating and a very slim minority not, they either left or fell into step quickly as those who did work weren't willing to forego their meals for the less faithful. Peer pressure can be a very useful and POSITIVE thing when applied in the right way and with the right pressure. (2Thessalonians 3:10 For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.)
This nation must get away from the "nanny" mentality if we are ever to recover from the dull-mindedness we've allowed to overtake us. The governmental teat milk is nothing more than a mental sedative which is causing the initiative and creativeness of our young peoples' minds to atrophy and with it goes ambition, self-respect and motivation. What we have today is a nation full of shiftless, unmotivated, unambitious people who feel great about their lazy arses - THANK YOU self-esteem and welfare. Many of these same people believe it to be their RIGHT to be taken care of by those of us who work for our living. It's past time this mentality gets challanged and changed.
Dear God of Heaven, it was YOU Who declared that man should work six days and showed so in Your example, Creation. Father, help us to see that just giving over to another is not helping but harming not only them but ourselves and the society that You established through us. Forgive us for not working and not requiring others to do the same. Grant us discernment that we might be able to see clearly both the needy and the sluggard and handle both properly. Grant us too the heart to help those truly in need that we might show Your Love to them. In Christ's Holy Name...
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