II CORINTHIANS 9:9-11: “Scripture says, “The righteous person gives freely to the poor. His righteousness continues forever.” God gives seed to the farmer and food to those who need to eat. God will also give you seed and multiply it. In your lives he will increase the things you do that have his approval. God will make you rich enough so that you can always be generous. Your generosity will produce thanksgiving to God because of us.” (GW)
OBSERVATION: Is Socialism consistent with the Bible? Webster defines socialism as – “Any of various ethnic economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of good.”. Socialism advocates the redistribution of goods dictated by the government. One of the current candidates for President of the United States is advocating free college for all, among many other “free” things, and intends to fund this by taking profits away from Wall Street and the wealthy. Is this what Paul is talking about in II Corinthians?
The Bible never calls for government to redistribute wealth. To do so places our faith in government to fix all the ills of society and mankind, rather than placing our faith in God. Rather, the Bible call “righteous” men and women to “freely” and “generously” give to the poor, to those less fortunate, to those in need. God’s system of providing is through the hard work of the individual and the generosity of the righteous. It is not through any type of socialist or communist system.
Paul puts these two Biblical principles together when he writes – “God gives seed to the farmer and to those who need to eat”. This is the principle of “hard work”. The book of Proverbs is replete with the call for man to be engaged in the work of his hands. Those who work will prosper, and those who are lazy will not. A political system that rewards everyone for less and less effort fosters laziness and selfishness. A political system that encourages hard work and dignity in ones’ work fosters both the worth of the individual and the generosity of the heart. America in its history has been one of the most generous nations in history. However, this will cease to be the case if we take away this principle of hard work, personal achievement, and dignity in one’s work.
Also, God promises to bless and prosper those who work hard, and who are doing that which pleases Him. Prosperity in the Bible was never meant to be a religious system or formula to help televangelists or churches garner more money. Prosperity in the Bible is God’s way of meeting the needs of the individual and also the needs of those who are truly worthy of receiving charitable support. Paul again writes,
- “God will also give you seed and multiply it. In your lives he will increase the things you do that have his approval. God will make you rich enough so that you can always be generous.”
Why does God multiply our seed? Why does He increase the things that we have? It is so that we may be rich enough so that we can always be generous. John D. Rockefeller, one of the richest men in America’s history, was also one of the most philanthropic. He once said, “Giving should be entered into in just the same way as investing. Giving is investing. Every right impulse implies a responsibility; Every opportunity an obligation, every possession, a duty.” This balance of work, wealth, and giving has been lost in a great deal of our culture, but this is what the Bible calls us to. We are never called to accumulate. We are called to prosper so that we can become more generous. Tithing and offerings are never a issue of debate for the heart that works hard, finds dignity in their work, and favor from the Lord as they obey Him in the call and ministry of generosity!
What is the fruit of such a culture, what is the result of such a life? Paul writes, “Your generosity will produce thanksgiving to God because of us.” God receives the glory, and hearts are brought to Jesus Christ through the acts of kindness and love that are done with no strings attached! A dear friend of mine, Bob Sanders, leads a ministry in Baja California that literally has built hundreds of homes and churches for the poor throughout that region. In all the years that Baja Christian Ministries has existed their generosity and benevolence has led thousands to Jesus Christ as their personal Savior and strengthened thousands of Christians lives as they have learned the joy of giving and serving.
No governmental program or structure can do this!
Only when government gets out of the way and allows the personal freedom of man to thrive in his work and enterprise is this kind of dignity and generosity released. Lord, open our eyes and hearts! Let us be both prosperous and generous so that you receive thanksgiving and glory and thousands can be introduced to the love of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!
In Jesus Name!