I know a poor lady named “Sherry” who gets social security every month because she has anxiety. She has been told that if she has makes over ‘X’ amount of dollars, she will lose her monthly income. So she doesn’t work.

Institutional Dependency

Sherry sits in her in her apartment watching movies and soap operas all day and goes to the therapist on the government’s dime. She doesn’t walk anywhere because she has soft feet. All of her needs are taken care of so she waits until the end of the month and with $3.57 left in her name, she goes and treats herself to a beer and cigarillo. She made it to the end of the month. Like clockwork, money for next month gets dropped into her account and she starts the process over–the revolving door.

Places where the poor can find relief:

  • The Church
  • The family
  • Neighbors

Responsibility by those not Responsible

Notice “the Government” is not one of those listed. One of the major reasons I do not list the government is because the Bible does not give the responsibility of the taking care of the poor and needy to this entity called ‘government.’ The Bible gives clear instruction to ensure there is justice for the poor and admonishes kings to not oppress the poor (Prov. 28:3, Micah 6:8), but the responsibility to take care of the poor directly is not given.

Solutions and Conclusions

Louisiana, receiving devastating blows in the 2016 flooding, came together as a community more efficiently than any governmental agency,  documented here. Neighbors helping neighbors is why Louisiana is going to be able to get back on its feet quicker than if they waited on the government to help (as the example of Hurricane Katrina shows).

Sherry could move to Alaska with her son if she wanted to. She doesn’t prefer to because she wants her space and she can’t take the weather. She has an option besides the government, but refuses to take it. In Louisiana, the people waited for the government in 2005 and the government majorly let them down. This time around, they learned their lesson to not be dependent on the government and neighbors started helping neighbors. Churches opened their doors and reached out to the thousands of homeless that were without basic needs.

The Calling of those Responsible

The struggle is difficult with answers to poverty and welfare. I still believe that assistance coming from the private sector is far superior to the government intervening. We are commanded to love our neighbor. We have been given the example of the Good Samaritan. When there is an expectation of the government to intervene, our natural reaction will be to give our responsibility up. As the rough edges get worked out in my thinking regarding the poor, I hope and pray that I will be consistent, logical, and most of all biblical in my conclusions.


Further Discussion:

FEE provides a Brief History of American Disaster Relief


Disciple’s Perspective aims to maintain the continuity of conservative thought in the Reformed and evangelical heritage. From J. Gresham Machen to Herman Bavinck, we seek to grow in the collective wisdom God has given the church, those on earth and in heaven, that we may attempt to inject civility into an informed conversation, one article at a time, bringing clarity out of chaos.