“...the belief that God's law overarched every aspect of life suggested that the most important need of the poor who were unfaithful was to learn about God and God's expectations for man. Spiritual as well as material help was a matter of obligation rather than request,...” p. 8They understood that if you fed their body and starved their soul all you were doing was preparing someone to go to hell with a full stomach. Personal involvement was necessary to convey the “why” of your help.
It also made room for a view of the sinful nature. The method the church I was visiting used rewarded sloth and penalized industry. Who would get first shot at the fresh food delivered to the “community outreach director”? The community outreach director and his friends, of course. Next would be the people who had not gone to work that day. The single mother who was working and trying to make it would find things well picked over or all gone by the time she got a chance to receive the bounty.
I can’t get excited about the way in which this church or other churches take the easy way. Personal involvement takes time and demands choices. Understanding of the problem of sin sets priorities and determines methods. This approach is not received well by people who have been taught they deserve to be provided for. It is attacked by those who make their living being paid good salaries to “help” those in “need.” It is consistent with what the whole Bible teaches.
It seems harsh but I am not sure that some people wouldn’t be better off learning to stand on their own two feet rather than making some well-to-do yuppies feel benevolent.
Olasky, Marvin. The Tragedy of American Compassion. Washington, D.C.: Regnery
Publishing, Inc., 1992.
homo unius libri