He also said to his disciples, "There was a certain rich man who had a manager. An accusation was made to him that this man was wasting his possessions. He called him, and said to him, 'What is this that I hear about you? Give an accounting of your management, for you can no longer be manager.'
"The manager said within himself, 'What will I do, seeing that my lord is taking away the management position from me? I don't have strength to dig. I am ashamed to beg. I know what I will do, so that when I am removed from management, they may receive me into their houses.' Calling each one of his lord's debtors to him, he said to the first, 'How much do you owe to my lord?' He said, 'A hundred batos of oil.' He said to him, 'Take your bill, and sit down quickly and write fifty.' Then he said to another, 'How much do you owe?' He said, 'A hundred cors of wheat.' He said to him, 'Take your bill, and write eighty.'
"His lord commended the dishonest manager because he had done wisely, for the children of this world are, in their own generation, wiser than the children of the light. I tell you, make for yourselves friends by means of unrighteous mammon, so that when you fail, they may receive you into the eternal tents. He who is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much. He who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much. If therefore you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches? If you have not been faithful in that which is another's, who will give you that which is your own? No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to one, and despise the other. You aren't able to serve God and mammon."
– Luke 16:1-13, World English BibleIn light of my recent job, and my renewed interest in public policy, I feel pulled to this passage:
He who is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much. He who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much. If therefore you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches? If you have not been faithful in that which is another's, who will give you that which is your own? No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to one, and despise the other. You aren't able to serve God and mammon."People who run programs that give away other people's money tend to be very cavalier about how they spend that money. After all, it's not their money. They get paid to give it away. Why care how much bang the actual person paying the actual bills is getting for his buck?
And therein lies a problem with Christian "social justice" thought. There tends to be a naive assumption that just setting up government programs to "take care of the poor" fixes the problem and thus divests the Christian from responsibility for the poor.
But setting up a boondoggle that supports poverty pimps isn't wise stewardship of the money of the aggregate of taxpayers.
No reasonably intelligent human being would voluntarily give money to an entity as appallingly wasteful as the Federal government. But many Christians have no qualms about voting taxes away from "the rich" and trusting a massive, self-interested bureaucracy to take care of the poor with the "rich" people's money.
First off, from a global and historical standpoint, anybody in America is "the rich". Even the derelicts and bag ladies can readily get food and shelter from a combination of government programs, private charities, and begging. Nobody starves to death or freezes to death from lack of available resources; there has to be another factor, such as being infirm or being a child and having irresponsible caretakers.
So the typical voter is "the rich." Let's just get that out of the way.
Now, back to pissing away the money of those more financially well-off than ourselves. Is there any Scriptural justification for this whatsoever?
We can start with the 10th Commandment:
Exodus 20:17 "Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that [is] thy neighbour's."There doesn't seem to be an exception for coveting if you plan to give it to somebody else.
1 As Jesus looked up, he saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury. 2 He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins. 3 “Truly I tell you,” he said, “this poor widow has put in more than all the others. 4 All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.” - Luke 21:1-4Jesus doesn't lambaste the rich people for allowing the widow to put in all she had. He commends the widow for her faith and generosity, and dismisses the rich, who give out of their abundance. How much more would he downplay the generosity of those who give out of somebody else's abundance.
So there are multiple problems with Christian "social justice" -- the establishing of government programs to tend to the poor:
- There is little virtue in giving away a small portion of your own wealth.
- There is even less virtue in giving away large portions of other people's wealth.
- There is no virtue in poor stewardship of resources -- your own or other people's.
We need to give of our own resources, not other people's, and to give wisely.