I spent my day with a heroine recently. He was 21 years old. He was on the crew of my moving company. As I drove from to our new house, he jumped in the car with me. I asked him about his story. He shared with me that he began using drugs and getting into the wrong crowd back when he was in his early teens. He spoke of his two “baby mamas” and three kids (ages 3,2, and 1) and his girlfriend who was pregnant. I asked him how he was able to cope with so much responsibility at such a young age. I asked him about his father and what kind of an impact his dad had on his life. He told me that he has only seen his dad three or four times in his whole life. He spoke of the challenges of temptation in his young life. I asked him how it changed and how he got involved in moving. He said, “This job keeps me out of trouble and kept me away from drugs. I started working more and being productive. Now I sometimes work 12-15 hours a day, but I have a dream of owning my own business.”
I was amazed that this young man -with such a challenging past- was so proud of his work. He was so grateful for this job which was so physically demanding. He was glad he could make a living despite the fact that he couldn’t read or write very well.
The Bible speaks about the power of work. Adam and Eve were placed in a garden and immediately God gave them jobs. They were to name the animals, subdue the land, and become co-laborers with God. The Bible describes the future millennial kingdom (a time when God reigns on earth) as a time with industry, economics, and innovation.
This young man was taping into God’s plan and purpose. God designed us all with a unique gift and template. We are all fearfully and wonderfully made for His purpose. Often that purpose is robbed by lies: The lies of laziness. The lies of greed. The lies of apathy. The lies of addiction.
I had the opportunity to work with families with cocaine babies in Chicago. We had a half-way house that helped people move from addicts to productive members of society. Two of my good friends who were in their early 20’s and married less than 5 years, decided to live in and run the half-way house with 20 x-addicts. They were so committed to helping those who wanted to change…really change…that they lived it! Day in and day out. They said the secret came in one word: RELATIONSHIP. Those who want to break out of generational poverty need someone to walk with them, model for them, and hold them accountable to taking the next step.
The Bible has strong words about the call of followers of Christ to helping the poor and building friendships with those who need help.
Ezekiel 16 says that the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah (a city that God destroyed) was their lack of concern for the poor.
This was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, excess of food and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy.
Socialism will not work. Passing out money to one group by taking from another group has a historic track record of failure. Government is one of the most inefficient and wasteful vehicles for generosity in the world. God is calling us to relationship and friendship. He wants us to equip people to fish. Democrats often default to government fix it solutions not accounting for mankind’s sinful tendencies. Republicans default to “try harder” individualism not accounting for the real sociological challenges of generational poverty and broken family systems. Telling someone to “get a job” who has never seen a parent with a full time job is as silly as asking me to go out and play Cricket when I’ve never even seen the game played. The Bible calls us to something radically better: Individual, radical, generosity expressed in the context of friendship with those who are hurting is the solution.
Jesus told us to be the good Samaritan. Not to hire the government to be the Samaritan for us. He taught us to take our money, our time, and our energy and use it to help others who are different from us.
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