It’s a central part of the Christian life to give; to give cheerfully and often; to give to those in need, to those we love, and even to our enemies. We call this “charity,” which is another word for “love.” Most everyone needs a helping hand from time-to-time and we should be deeply grateful when it comes our way. Nevertheless, we’re currently living in an entitlement age where many (including many Christians), have come to see welfare (which is disguised in many forms in order to help you feel good about it), as something to be expected.

In the good-ol’-days a person had to figure out whether they could really afford to do something before they did it. A job and some money in the bank meant you could do some of the things you desired and dreamed of, otherwise you had to wait. Responsibility and duty drove godly decisions. Self-denial (which is central to maturity), means not always getting what you want when you want it (even when the thing you desire is a good thing).

There are many good things in the world, and I want a lot of them, but God doesn’t always want me to have them. The way I know He doesn’t want me to have them (at least not right now), is that He hasn’t provided me with the money to get them, and He hasn’t authorized me to take someone else’s money to get them. Perhaps He wants me to work some more and save some more.

When we receive subsidies to indulge our immediate desires we’re also incurring a debt. Sometimes that’s simply a debt of gratitude that’s due to the gift giver, but more often it involves other kinds of debt (“And the borrower is servant to the lender” Pr. 22:7). Moreover, it’s one thing to receive a gift from a voluntary giver; it’s another thing altogether to receive “gifts” that have been coerced under threat of violence. The Robinhood-state frequently subsidizes many things by way of loans, checks, credits, etc., all paid for by our next-door-neighbors. Since the money is taken by force from “anonymous” tax-payers, the recipients of the benefits can feel much better about themselves. They too can remain anonymous while living a little higher on the hog. Rather than feeling or showing gratitude for being taken care of, the state has indulged her “children,” who now perceive that they deserve such perpetual care. Everybody’s doing it; therefore, it must be okay. Who doesn’t like free stuff? Subsidies are tempting. But as economist Thomas Sowell put it: “If you think it’s expensive now, just wait til it’s free.”