Friday, October 2, 2009
Welfare: a brief history
At the Hope offices this morning, the topic of Welfare came up in conversation. I found myself wanting to know more about it, and other types of government aid. What kinds of aid are out there? Who gets what, and what are the limits? If one of our participants gets employment, is this going to be more helpful or harmful in the long run?
I never thought that I might say that work might be bad. -not that I am saying this still- However, it is not as clean cut a thing as to be able to say work=better. Unfortunately, society and those structures in which we all live do not support such statements. I do believe, as a Christian, that work is good. In doing work, we are imitating our maker. We are creating, making new, pressing on, to bring him glory through the work of our hands and minds. The Bible tells us in Genesis 2:15, God "took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it." And in Genesis 3:23, after the fall, God still says that man will work. I could, of course, go on and on, because the Bible is full of passages on work. In Proverbs, again and again, we see that man should work for his food, labor with his hands- and that idleness is not to be rewarded. For the sake of brevity, I'll just say this: Work is good!
But what happens in a world that does not run in accordance with the Scriptures? What happens when the rulers and powers that be do not see the poor as image bearers? Even if their intentions are good, it is possible to do harm -great harm- by attempting to "fix" by the standards of the world.
Take a moment to read through the following link on the history of welfare. As you read, think about what God has to say about work and about poverty.
Who is responsible for the poor?
When is it good/bad for a man to work?
Why do we work?
How can the church act on behalf of the poor?
Please feel free to email us here at the Hope office with any comments or questions on this particular issue, or anything else that comes to mind.