“Entitlement Thieves”?

 Yesterday, I let me my snarky side out to play.  You already know that if you read the post about “Christian” movies.  But, that wasn’t the only smart-ass thing I said.  A friend of mine who is infinitely more conservative than I am (which is not that hard, I’ll admit) posted the following joke as his Facebook status:

“I met a Genie today who said he would grant me one wish.
“OK, I want to live forever,” I said.
“Sorry,” said the Genie “I’m not allowed to grant wishes like that.”
“Fine,” I said, “then I want to die after the Democrats get their heads out of their asses.”
“You crafty bastard” said the Genie.”

To which I replied:

“How about dying after the Republicans quit trying to screw anyone who isn’t a rich WASP? It would have the same effect.”

Okay, so it wasn’t my most bright and shining moment.  The fact that it has more than a kernel of truth doesn’t justify slamming an entire segment of the population.  For that, I apologize.  But, that’s not my reason for writing this; it’s his response to what I said:

“Well Joel, some liberal Republicans are just as guilty as Demorons in taking what doesn’t belong or them that hasn’t earned the handouts they receive. Robbing anyone through legislation is still being a thief. The poor and elderly that can’t help themselves should be taken care of but not the entitlement thieves. It was a Joke Joel ..just like people that voted for Obama”

Now, before I say anything else, I want to make clear that this individual and I genuinely like and respect each other; we just don’t see eye to eye on this subject.  I posted his statment because there are a few phrases and ideas in it that I hear coming not just from him, but from many of my brothers and sisters in Christ.  Which leads me to ask a question of everyone who feels this way: how can someone steal something that isn’t really yours in the first place?

In Deuteronomy 8:17-18, Moses tells the Israelites

Don’t think to yourself, My own strength and abilities have produced all this prosperity for me. 18 Remember the LORD your God! He’s the one who gives you the strength to be prosperous in order to establish the covenant he made with your ancestors—and that’s how things stand right now”

In Deuteronomy 10:14, he reminds them:

“Clearly, the LORD owns the sky, the highest heavens, the earth, and everything in it.”

In Haggai 2:8, the prophet says

“The silver and the gold belong to me, says the LORD of heavenly forces.”

I’d say those passages pretty well establish where all the blessings we have received come from.  And, make no mistake, many of us here in America are blessed far beyond what we deserve.  Everything I have, I have because of forces beyond my control.  I was born into a  middle class family that, while not wealthy by U.S. standards, had sufficient resources to allow me to get a decent education which allowed me to find a good job which has allowed me to afford a clean, dry, warm place to live and plenty of food to eat.  The truth is, I have received all of this because I was fortunate enough to be born a white male in the most prosperous and stable country the world has ever seen.  Lucky me, huh? 

So, why was I given all this wealth?  Why did God bless me so much and my neighbor nowhere near as much?  I believe that I have received this grace so I can pass it on to others.  As Paul says in 2 Corinthians 8:13-15   

“It isn’t that we want others to have financial ease and you financial difficulties, but it’s a matter of equality. 14 At the present moment, your surplus can fill their deficit so that in the future their surplus can fill your deficit. In this way there is equality. 15 As it is written, The one who gathered more didn’t have too much, and the one who gathered less didn’t have too little.”

If that doesn’t work for you, try this:

““Then the king will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who will receive good things from my Father. Inherit the kingdom that was prepared for you before the world began. 35 I was hungry and you gave me food to eat. I was thirsty and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger and you welcomed me. 36I was naked and you gave me clothes to wear. I was sick and you took care of me. I was in prison and you visited me.’

37 “Then those who are righteous will reply to him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you a drink? 38 When did we see you as a stranger and welcome you, or naked and give you clothes to wear? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’

40 “Then the king will reply to them, ‘I assure you that when you have done it for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you have done it for me.’

41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Get away from me, you who will receive terrible things. Go into the unending fire that has been prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 I was hungry and you didn’t give me food to eat. I was thirsty and you didn’t give me anything to drink. 43 I was a stranger and you didn’t welcome me. I was naked and you didn’t give me clothes to wear. I was sick and in prison, and you didn’t visit me.’

44 “Then they will reply, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison and didn’t do anything to help you?’ 45 Then he will answer, ‘I assure you that when you haven’t done it for one of the least of these, you haven’t done it for me.’ 46 And they will go away into eternal punishment. But the righteous ones will go into eternal life. ”

Matthew 25:34-46

All scripture passages from the Common English Bible copyright 2010