"The Christian faith once meant that a believer responded to a dark world by actively working to bring God's grace and mercy to others, both by word and by deed. However, a modern, self-centered church has isolated the faith to a pietism that relinquishes charitable responsibility to the state. The end result has been the empowering of a humanistic world order.
(Excerpted from the backliner to "In His Service: The Christian Calling to Charity" by R.J. Rushdoony.)
Periodically I get emails from people asking for my advice. What follows is an example of someone putting her faith into action, (in thought, word, and deed), despite criticism from those who profess Christ but do not truly confess Him in any orthodox sense.
Hi Ms. Andrea!
I have written you before and am writing again to ask you a question regarding Stewardship.
I live in a very low-income neighborhood surrounded by many who profess Christ. I have no idea if they are saved, although some go to church.
Recently, I was told by a woman in my area, (a professing Christian whom I will call Ms. Mary), that as times get tougher, we need to come together and help one another. She suggested perhaps sometime before summer, we get together to "pull our resources together."
My problem is the following. Most of these so-called professing "Christians" that live here are either addicts (drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, etc.) and/or they live way beyond their means. The Christians (and non-Christians this woman was referring to) all have some kind of addiction in addition to expensive cable plans, dining out on a regular basis, regular visits to Starbucks, and expensive cellphones/cellphone plans.
I have lived here for roughly 9 years, while Ms. Mary is new to the area. I have known most of my neighbors for years, and truth be told, most of them do not like me. Most of them have told me they think I am stingy and self-righteous. The truth is I not only feel unmoved to help these people; I feel convicted in not doing so.
The welfare recipients around here have children out of wedlock and are on Food Stamps and Section 8. They do not hate life, Ms. Andrea; they are loving life. Trust me. People work to support them and the recipients are not complaining.
I gently reminded Ms. Mary of this. A neighbor who pays $185.00 a month in cable fees is not entitled to my money or things that I own. God calls me to steward what I have, and supporting a $185.00 a month cable bill for another is not a part of that plan! I also reminded her that Starbucks is one of the largest donors to Planned Parenthood, and I do not support abortion mills, of any kind.
I went on to explain to her (which I did not feel I had to but did anyway) that I have no long-distance, no cable and no cellphone. I cannot afford these items nor do I want them. I live on a fixed income and am extremely careful, at least in my opinion, where and how I spend the money God has given me.
That did not sit well with her. She rebuked me and found it "odd" that I had such an unloving spirit toward those who are less fortunate. Less fortunate? She told me how people live is none of my business. Ms. Mary also explained to me that God loves all people and that He expects me to help them. She said that He would also be displeased with me if I did not. She went on to contrast me to herself -- someone who "just couldn't turn anyone away."
I totally disagree.
This is what I call "Christian Socialism" and it has not only permeated my neighborhood, but it is picking up quite a few followers within the church.
Would you be able to offer any insights on how I could have handled that situation differently? I did use Scripture but apparently, Ms. Mary considers the Old Testament is too outdated!
My response to Terri was that I agreed with her assessment and asked if I could share her words with a wider audience. She agreed, and stated, "You can use my name!"
For those who might want greater clarity on our responsibilities to those in need, I strongly recommend R.J. Rushdoony’s book, In His Service: The Christian Calling to Charity, which outlines true Biblical charity and how it is informed and undergirded by the law-word of God.