While it is a noble idea to want to “share the wealth” to assist the poor, it is not found anywhere in the Bible that it is the government’s duty to do so. The present administration and both houses of congress have the perception that it is in their scope of responsibility to redistribute the wealth within the citizenry. Their income redistribution plan is to be enacted via the tax structure.
Perhaps the clearest passage in the Bible relative to the intended purpose of taxation is found in the New Testament book of Romans.
“Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God…For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good…For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil…For because of this you also pay taxes, for they are God’s ministers attending continually to this very thing.” Romans 13:1-6
This passage clearly explains that civil authority is established for the purpose of protecting the citizenry from those who choose not to abide by the established laws. This passage also grants powers to the appointed civil authorities to inflict punishment on the offenders. And more significantly, this passage states that the purpose of the taxing system is for generating funds to maintain law and order in the land.
When government gets involved in such issues as deciding how much each citizen should “give” to support others they are in essence playing “God.”
Upon examining the early history of the church we find ample references concerning the church’s responsibility to take care of the needy.
“Nor was there anyone among them who lacked; for all who were possessors of land or houses sold them…and they distributed to each as anyone had need.” Acts 4:34-35
“…there was going to be a great famine throughout all the world. Then the disciples, each according to his ability, determined to send relief to the brethren…” Acts 11:28-29
“…He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.” 2 Corinthians 9:6-7
King Solomon had the reputation of being the wisest man in the world. In his proverbs he had much to say about the individual’s responsibility to care for the poor and needy through voluntary acts. His writings also provide warnings to those individuals who shirk their responsibility to care for the poor.
“He who has pity on the poor lends to the LORD, and He will pay back what he has given.” Proverbs 19:17
This proverb states that when an individual gives to the poor, it is like giving to God Himself and God will reward the giver.
“A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children, but the wealth of the sinner is stored up for the righteous.” Proverbs 13:22
“He who has a slack hand becomes poor, but the hand of the diligent makes rich.” Proverbs 10:4
These proverbs clearly states that God will take care of wealth distribution.
“One who increases his possessions by usury and extortion gathers it for him who will pity the poor.” Proverbs 28:8
“Whoever shuts his ears to the cry of the poor will also cry himself and not be heard.” Proverbs 21:13
Therefore, the issue of income redistribution is very relevant but not a governmental responsibility. The Bible clearly states that it is to be left up to the individual to voluntarily assist the needy.
We would be hard pressed to find any contemporary issue facing America today that is not covered in scriptural teachings. It is amazing that we continue to reinvent the wheel when in fact it is all laid out before us.
One wonders how different things would be today if the lawmakers and president of this great Christian nation would consult their bibles regularly instead of letting them gather dust after the symbolic swearing in ceremony.