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God created mankind with only three ways to personal gain: work for it, receive it as a gift, or steal it. The first two are moral; the third is immoral. Yet, American society has evolved over resent years toward sanctioning theft through our government programs. Let’s look from a biblical perspective at how our nation may be disregarding God’s economy.

The Bible has much to say about the virtue of labor and the sin of laziness. It also advocates generosity in giving. But it strongly warns against thievery. No scripture sums up these ideals more than Ephesians 4:28: He who steals must steal no longer; but rather he must labor, performing with his own hands what is good, so that he will have something to share with one who has need.

Physical and mental exertion rewarded by money or in-kind return is the foundation of God’s economy. Most of this return is to be used for life’s necessities and reasonable pleasures. Then, part of that return is to be shared willingly with those who need it for living or for the general good of mankind. According to the Bible, at least ten percent of it is to be freely given to the Lord’s work through the church. Any part of personal gain given up forcibly or unwillingly to others is theft. That may be through direct stealing, fraud, or forced giving. Thieves receive their personal gain not by work or gift, but by taking from others against their will. Work, gift, or theft. There are no other categories of personal gain.

In a perfect world, all needs of those who cannot work would be supplied as a gift by those who are able according to biblical teaching. Because of our greed and insufficient love, Americans and other capitalist societies agree to collectively meet those needs through assistance programs funded by taxes. We who work contribute willingly to the needy through government programs for health care (e.g., Medicaid), basic necessities (e.g., welfare), etc. through a portion of our taxes. Our willingness to contribute this way is expressed by our voting for lawmakers who enact such wealth distribution laws and policies. In Socialist societies, the government controls all work and personal wealth and redistributes the wealth as they deem necessary.

For several decades, America’s provision for the needy by the will of the majority through government taxation has worked reasonably well. The problem in recent years is with the majority of our lawmakers who are not following the will of the voters in their distribution of wealth. When those in charge spend our taxes on others against our will as a whole, we are being robbed–plain and simple. Nearly 60% of Americans oppose making government-provided health insurance available to illegal immigrants, according to a CNN poll released last week. Yet, when 10 Democratic presidential candidates in their last debate were asked for a show of hands of those in favor of such government spending, all 10 hands went up. The same betrayal is evident with government funded abortions as Democrats rally to repeal the Hyde Amendment.

Americans are the most benevolent people on earth. They willingly allow their Congressional representative to distribute some of their tax money to those deemed deserving of it. Those representatives would do well to not steal that tax money for those whom the majority of taxpayers deem undeserving. As you observe what politicians are advocating in their campaigns, put them to the test. Are they proposing to gift or steal your tax dollars?