Poverty

   Written by on October 27, 2016 at 9:58 am

logo-crotts-stephen“Will work for food. Hungry vet,” the sign read. “Please help. God bless.” So I pulled over and said, “Hop in. We’re going two miles. My wife will cook a good meal and I’ll pay you well to rake the leaves from my yard.” The man started to get in the car, stopped, and said, “No. It’s better here.”

His sign was a lie. All he desired was a handout. Something for nothing.

Over the years as a minister I have talked to many poor people wanting help. I always offer to help. And work for pay is that help. Sure, some people who are sick or have a broken leg just need a gift. But if they are able-bodied, I tie the money to labor—no exceptions.

One man actually looked at me incredulously and blurted, “Don’t you have some free money?” Handouts are not how life works. Such cripples people. And we all must learn to live in the real world.

When a grown healthy man asked if I could help him with food, I said sure and I asked why he didn’t call his family. “We haven’t spoken in years,” he confessed.  “Can you call your church family to help?” His retort, “I don’t have one.” The man didn’t just lack money. He had no family, no church, no friends, and his social skills were so poor he was impossible to work with. When I offered to pay him to clip the hedges he simply cursed me and walked away.

Poverty, you see, is not just a lack of money or food. It is a lack of education, social skills, family, and church.  The question is, how does one end poverty?

President Johnson’s War On Poverty has only created more poverty.  It taxes work and incentives non-work. Our welfare programs have taken men out of the homes and that means under-parented children who grow up without respect for authority, without family values, without job skills, but who feel it is the government’s job to give them phones, credit cards, and welfare for their out-of-wedlock children.

The number one cause of poverty in the state is single parenthood. The number two cause is quitting school, and the third cause is not working well with others. How do we break into this spasm of poverty, anger, dependency, and waste?

We start with God and the age-old, tried-and-true institution of the family. No greater form of rearing children to adulthood has ever been devised. We call out citizens to repentance from sin.  We hold men accountable to provide for their children. We quit making it easy for the lazy to take but not give. We create an army of trained laborers to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure.  And I am most certain people brighter than I am can take it from there.

I’m optimistic to believe we can enrich the poor with skills, friendships, family values, and job opportunities. And I believe enough in people to think they can respond and grow.

We all need to. And we can.

The Reverend Stephen Crotts is pastor of Village Presbyterian Church in Charlotte Court House, VA. He is also the director of the Carolina Study Center, Inc., a campus ministry, located in Chapel Hill, NC. Pastor Crotts may be reached at carolinastudycenter@msn.com.

About Stephen Crotts

The Reverend Stephen Crotts is pastor of Village Presbyterian Church in Charlotte Court House, VA. He is also the director of the Carolina Study Center, Inc., a campus ministry, located in Chapel Hill, NC. Pastor Crotts may be reached at carolinastudycenter@msn.com.

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