Bear” (not his real name) is one hacked-off preacher, constantly scowling and hollering at his congregation for their
sins and their alleged laziness in particular. He, and many other loveless preachers,
use this verse as a convenient copout from showing compassion to the poor:
For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.
like others, should not be isolated from its context and used to browbeat those under severe financial trial and living in
humiliating circumstances. This scripture passage is directed specially toward
people who habitually goof off and flit about from house to house spreading idle gossip instead of leading productive, useful
lives. In times past I’ve known of people who acted this way, both believers and unbelievers. These busybodies probably kept track of when dinner would be served at each house and just “dropped
by” as the family sat down to eat. People can save a lot on their grocery
bills by doing this! Many Christians are soft touches who don’t have the heart to turn away uninvited dinner guests
who pop in for dinner every day. This would open that Christian up to a charge of being unloving and selfish, even if the
permanent dinner guest is OBVIOUSLY taking advantage of the kindness of their Christian neighbors on a regular basis.
Before a Christian
chews out a “freeloader” chewing on his food, he/she should try to find out if circumstances beyond the control
of the other person have led to this behavior. The frequent dinner guest might
truly be in need through no fault of his own, or in danger of becoming homeless. Job loss or other tragedy can strike at any
time, knocking even the most responsible people off their feet. If the modern
church acted like the First Century Church, it would be about the business of helping people “caught between the cracks”
to get back on their feet and able to provide for themselves as they formerly did. Instead of lavishing donations on fancy
landscaping or excessive pastoral salaries, the modern church ought to run temporary shelters where hungry, homeless members
are LOVINGLY cared for without being rebuked for being in their predicament. So
long as this “safety net” wasn’t abused as a permanent hammock, it wouldn’t violate Paul’s exhortation
to personal responsibility.
The key words
in 2 Thes.3:10 are WOULD NOT WORK (an attitude of WILLINGNESS to earn their own living, not necessarily the ABILITY to). If a person is able-bodied and qualified to work at available jobs and needs the money
to survive, he/she has no choice, according to the Word of God. Yet today we
see the dilemma of single and divorced mothers who realize that if they DID work at available minimum-waged jobs, child care
would be needed.
are highly mobile. They often relocate very far from their home towns, with parents,
brothers and sisters scattered in every corner of the U.S., leading independent lives of their
own and making only sporadic contact with one another. A woman might have settled
down somewhere with a man she loved and trusted. But due to death or divorce
she finds herself all alone in a big city with no friends or relatives to pitch in with childcare for her youngsters while
she’s away at work. A poor woman would have no other option but to put them in expensive daycare, which might eat up
more money than she’s earning. Not to mention her rent payment, utilities,
transportation and food. Growing kids need to eat a lot and if you find you’re
better off on welfare as a single mom, what alternative is there? It would be
ideal if such a woman had the opportunity to train for a better job which could cover her costs AND leave money for food and
Pity poor single
women struggling to keep their families afloat. At the back of their minds is
the nagging fear that if they don’t provide adequately for their kids the State might take them away and place them
in foster homes. The pathetic pay people on minimum wage earn combined with the crippling cost of living, makes it impossible
for some people to keep their families together. During this current economic
downturn, many professional people are losing their jobs. Some are ending up
homeless, too scared to tell anyone lest the authorities come and split their families up.
Brother Bear is so lost in his religious head trip he NEVER stops to think of poverty as a tragedy that happens to the best
of people at the worst possible times. Instead, he lambasts the Welfare Queen who lounges at home at taxpayers’ expense. There ARE a few outrageous cases where women deliberately bear as many babies as possible
to maximize their welfare benefits. But the truly needy must NOT be cast out
into the cold because some abuse the System.
cold, I watched one video where a man told the sad story of what tithing had done to transform his life into a tragic mess.
Year after year this well-meaning but deceived Christian tithed on every penny that came into his pocket. If some emergency struck his life to make him skip a tithe payment, he’d tremble in fear of the judgment
of God. Without realizing it, he’d moved out of the realm of the Grace
of God back under Law and its terrible bondage of fear (Rom.8:15). Tithing is a matter OF JEWISH LAW (Lev.27:30-34; Matt.23:23).
Imperfect law-keeping carries a terrible curse. Instead of reaping a rich “harvest blessing” for rendering ten
per cent of his money to his spiritual overlords, the man suffered worsening circumstances until he broke free of religious
bondage put upon him by MEN.
For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not
in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them. * * * If you tithe, you’ll be condemned by God for
failure to properly keep the REST of the 613-ordinance Law as well, which includes dietary regulations, restrictions on trimming
hair and beards, animal sacrifices, Sabbath-keeping, etc.
Verse 11: But that no man is justified by the law in the sight
of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith.
Verse 12: And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth
them shall live in them. Verse 13: Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is
written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:
In other articles
I explore reasons why tithing is not for Christians today, and how Scripture teaches that tithing is PART OF THE LAW we’ve
been redeemed from.
What does all
this have to do with being cold? That faithful tither finally woke up after he had to do without winter heat due to faithful
tithing. In desperation he approached church bigwigs to see if they’d be
willing to help him with the cost of heating. After years and years of filching
money off that poor sucker they flat-out refused to help him out! Don’t
ever be duped by melodramatic tearful pulpit preachers who pretend to “feel your pain”! Sure they just might pray
for you, but the apostle James asks Christians what good does it do to speak some airy-fairy blessing over your brother or
sister if you do nothing to provide food for their hungry stomach or clothes for their body
(James 2:14-17)? Faith without works is dead. Brother Bear can holler
till the cows come home about living for God but if he rejects this part of the Gospel of Christ he’s a hypocrite.
Part of the
problem is the MANMADE false tradition of a clergy-laity divide in the Body of Christ. Christians are hoodwinked into thinking
that keeping preachers rich is “ministering to Jesus’ need”. Giving
to that faraway face in Preacherland, California
equals giving to the Lord! If televangelists need studio equipment or money for any type of project (money doesn’t ALWAYS
reach those starving kids in Haiti) they
never hesitate to cry and beg for Christians to give sacrificially to the Lord (they’ll happily take your money in His
name). Some will weep and swear that if you don’t send them eight million bucks by such and such a date “god”
will bump them off or their program will go belly up. But if YOU’RE about
to get evicted from your fleabag apartment because you lost your job, tough luck! You
just try contacting their ministry for a handout. At most you’ll get a
polite response urging you to “go get a job”. That friendly puppy face on TV is nowhere in sight when the sheriff
comes to your door to move you and your belongings out onto the sidewalk!
believers belong to Christ’s Royal Priesthood (I Pet.2:5,9). That’s
right, we aren’t common peon schleps parked out in the pews put here on earth serving no other purpose than to keep the REAL Christians up in style. ALL true believers
are part of the actual Body of Christ on earth. Read I Corinthians chapter 12
and you’ll realize that we’re ALL vital to the Body of Christ, and supposed to be ministering in our own God-given
capacities. We are made one Spirit with Christ Jesus (I Cor.6:17)! Isn’t that awesome? Every time we cringe and bow and
bring tribute to self-appointed lords over God’s inheritance (see I Pet. 5:3) we deny our own union with Christ Jesus
and our position as being seated with Him in heavenly places (Eph.2:6).
Think of it.
WE “ordinary” Christians ARE one Spirit with Christ Jesus. If you give to that poor hungry Christian family sitting
in the pew next to you, you’re giving to the Lord just as much as if you gave it to the man up front in the pulpit.
So why would any Christian hesitate to go ask some televangelist for financial aid if he gets stuck with high medical bills
or he just needs food? He’s just as important in the sight of God as that luxury-loving TV preacher who begs for your
money on God’s behalf, while wearing a new pair of shoes only ONCE and dining like a king every night like the Rich
Man of Luke chapter 16 which you’re lucky to get macaroni and cheese!
tax collectors of God say you’re “faith partners in prosperity” with them.
I thought a partnership was usually on EQUAL terms (see 2 Cor.8:14 which calls for EQUALITY of well-being in the Body
of Christ!). But you try and actually PRACTICE equality in your church! Next time your tooth hurts and you don’t have dentist money go up to that big
boy in the pulpit and ask for an offering to get the need met. After all, you’re
just as much a member of the Body of Christ as any so-called ordained minister! But
don’t count on any positive results. You’ll probably be whisked out
of the “sanctuary” by ushers faster than a speeding bullet. And as
for those poodle-permed TV preachers, they’re well-insulated from you. They’re surrounded by big organizations which shield them from contact with
the general public. The most you could do would be to speak to someone behind a desk who represents them.
should start hollerin’ at the man in the mirror before sending everybody else to hell for being on welfare. He and his
ilk are far bigger freeloaders than the poor elderly lady on a state pension. I bet Brother Bear never had to put back a food
item because he was six cents short. I bet HE never had to do without dental
treatment if HIS tooth hurt! I remember working every hour God could send and
I STILL couldn’t afford to get a desperately needed root canal treatment done.
I’ve lost most of that tooth because I couldn’t get it restored when it really needed the work done. Far
from being lazy I did my utmost NEVER to miss a day due to sickness. Brother Bear would have been proud of me back then. I
went to work even when I was hacking my head off. I had a bad cold for six weeks but couldn’t afford to rest in bed. I prayed the Lord wouldn’t let people notice how sick I was as I prepared their
sandwiches. I took good care of myself and hoped I wouldn’t get run over
by a bus in a country where only the wealthy could afford medical care.
Rent and other
expenses ate up most of what I earned, even though I had given sacrificially to preachers over many years and was still waiting
for my windfall. The more I gave to these “name it and claim it” preachers, the more trials came our way. Well, you can guess I’ve been cured
of my hero-worship of preachers. Life is so much nicer for me now that
I haven’t sent those beg-a-thon bums one solitary cent! God meets all my needs and I actually have the TIME to do fulfilling
things which matter for eternity.
My mother had
a rough time of it years ago when my dad got sick. Brother Bear hollers about
the virtues of hard work. He screamed recently about the evils of women supporting their non-working husbands, and how such
men are lazy bums who are gonna split hell wide open. Well, no guy on earth worked
harder than my dad. But Dad was forced to quit just ONE year short of being able
to collect his full government pension. Why? Because his liver got poisoned by
caustic chemicals he worked in for 29 years. The poor man nearly died. He suffered disability the rest of his life. My mother went to work cleaning motel rooms while Dad recuperated.
If she’d taken off sick days she would have been fired. Her employers tried to take the cleaners’ lunch
break away! Rain, shine or snow those hard-working women had to travel down the
highway to clean those rooms. I wonder how hard Brother Bear’s wife works! If any of his kids got sick or lost their
job would he give them a rollicking rebuke for being a lazy loser?
health was ruined and it was hard to make ends meet, but what did his govt. employers care?
After fighting for his country in WWII and 29 years of faithful service to his job, my poor dad went back to work as
a security guard, elderly and frail, because his slashed pension wouldn’t go far enough.
How hard does Brother Bear work? It must wear that old boy out to holler
about how everybody else is stinkin’ lazy and on their way to hell!
hollers about the evils of the Welfare system and how satanic it is. I do hate to say this, but would it give this massive
man satisfaction to watch some poor person slowly starve to death for lack of basic food? Would he eat a big bucket of chicken
in front of a malnourished laid-off worker? Christian poor people wouldn’t even NEED a government welfare system for
a safety net if the modern Church were anything like the one in the Book of Acts. What a big reward this preacher would get
in heaven if only his heart were as big as his waistline!
Acts 4:32: And
the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which
he possessed was his own; but they had all things common.
Verse 33: And
with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all.
Verse 34: Neither
was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices
of the things that were sold,
Verse 35: And laid them down at the apostles' feet: and distribution was made unto every
man according as he had need.
Wow! In the middle of this passage, we read that God visited the early church with His wonder-working power! There was NONE among them who lacked for the necessities of life! So much for Conservative Churchianity’s “sink or swim” theology! Could LACK OF LOVE be
the primary reason for the powerlessness of the modern church? Can you imagine any of those fancy-dancy televangelists selling
their fine jewelry, art collections, Ferraris, and vast estates and distributing the proceeds to help poverty-stricken Christians
with their rent or food bills? It’ll rain the proverbial snowballs in hell
before that happens! I’d bet Brother Bear wouldn’t even share his Twinkie with a hungry widow!
How many malnourished
kids could eat if some televangelist decided ONE home is enough and sold his horse ranch and beachfront villa so he could
feed hungry kids in the inner cities? Don’t bank on it!
be fair now. Preachers have to eat too, and sometimes “ordinary”
believers do take advantage of them. Instead of seeing a psychiatrist, a troubled Christian might counsel with his pastor,
who takes seriously his responsibility to care for the flock of the Lord. Multiply this by hundreds of cases if his congregation
is large and troubled congregants make incessant demands on their pastor’s time.
Not to mention all the entertaining the pastor and his wife must do, and all the church programs and projects they
must immerse themselves in. Many if not most professional pastors have been to
Bible school and studied their socks off to get to where they are today. Many
have studied professional counseling and offer it free of charge to people who visit their office. But even preachers have to eat, for goodness sake. Paul preached
the Gospel free of charge (I Cor.9:18). But fellow Christians wouldn’t have expected a free tent from Paul the tentmaker.
If much of a preacher’s waking life is taken up with professional counseling,
he should expect a decent salary just like any other professional. Paying these sympathetic listeners and program producers
a reasonable amount through FREEWILL offerings (not tithes) is reasonable if you want them available at all hours of the day
But for the
most part, megachurch ministers and big televangelists don’t get to know the ordinary pew Christian. They have their “inner circle” clique to serve as a buffer zone so they can rubbing shoulders
with the commoners out in the pews. Generally speaking, they don’t have
time to strike up an acquaintance with each soul out in that vast sea of pews. Brother Bear wouldn’t lose much sleep
if you WERE tossed out of your home through no fault of your own! So why deprive your family of necessities to pay him for
services he doesn’t render?
hollers that there’s no free lunch with God. But is that REALLY true? Just
ask Jesus, Who served lunch to 5,000 hungry men plus their wives and families (Matt.14:21), then repeated the same miracle
for 4,000 families in the next chapter (Matt.15:28). That’s two tall orders
for a lowly Carpenter Who forgot to take up the love offering to defray expenses!
What did JESUS
have to say about providing for the poor? Did He ever holler WORK OR STARVE!
at some poor beggar? Is God’s kindness and faithfulness to provide for
His children limited to the money in their pockets? What was Jesus’ attitude
toward the rich? Did He tell them to turn a blind eye to the needy?
and Luke 18:18-23 the Rich Young Ruler asks Jesus what he needs to do to enter
into Life eternal. Jesus tells him to sell all his earthly treasures and donate
the proceeds to the poor. Why doesn’t Brother Bear preach more on this
example set by Jesus?
I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall
put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment (clothing)?
Verse 26: Behold
the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them.
Are ye not much better than they?
Verse 27: Which
of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?
Verse 28: And
why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:
Verse 29: And
yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
Verse 30: Wherefore,
if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe
you, O ye of little faith?
Verse 31: Therefore
take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?
Verse 32: (For
after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.
Verse 33: But
seek ye first the kingdom of God,
and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
Verse 34: Take
therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is
the evil thereof.
Work is an important
part of a believer’s life, but not once in this passage does Jesus limit God’s faithfulness to our ability to
Far from exalting
the greedy rich Jesus warns them of their spiritual peril in such passages as Matt.19:24 which states it is easier for a camel
to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter in to eternal life. In Luke 18:24 Jesus states: How hardly
(with great difficulty) shall those who possess wealth enter the Kingdom of God!
Paul gives this
exhortation to wealthy Christians:
I Tim.6:17: Charge them that are
rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly
all things to enjoy;
18: That they
do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute (share with the truly needy), willing to communicate;
Verse 19: Laying up in store for themselves
a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.
Why doesn’t Brother Bear
comment much on THIS Scripture, or is he afraid to share his Twinkies?