A link is forged between private property and the ability to give from one’s own resources in Deuteronomy 24:19
Deut 24:19, “When you reap your harvest in your field, and forget a sheaf in the field, you shall not go back to get it; it shall be for the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hands”
Several thoughts emanate from this verse:
- In order for someone to display honest generosity, he needs to be generous with his own private property.
- The focus of the generosity of private citizens is people in real need. In the case of this verse, they are listed as strangers, orphans, and widows.
- According to this verse, God will bless the work of a person’s hands, given that this person is generous with his own private property.
However, further thoughts also stem from this verse:
- The redistribution of wealth greatly reduces a person’s ability to be generous, allocating that decision to government policies.
- The removal of private property, such as in communism, completely removes the possibility of the type of generosity listed in the verse, as no one has ownership of any particular land.
- When the personal incentive to generosity is reduced, God’s promised blessing is reduced in like measure.
- When the individual’s mandate to be generous to the stranger, orphan, and widow is conferred on governmental authority, there is no individual responsibility for giving, nor is there individual accountability for the recipient’s proper use of the funds.
- If individual generosity is bequeathed to the government through redistribution, then an individual’s opportunity to give to others is forced upon him; the willingness to obey God’s command is removed and replaced by the mandate of a government agency requiring all to give, whether they are willing or not; cheerful generosity is squeezed from a culture, as is God’s promised blessing.
Further, it is clear from Deuteronomy 24:19 that God does not mandate communism. Rather, God mandates private property, while urging obedience to individual generosity.
Again, as to work:
- The farmer is not told to harvest his field a second time, and give all of that harvest to the poor through a food bank of some type (although I am not against food banks)
- Rather, the crop is left in the field for the poor to harvest it themselves, requiring them to work for their food.
Several months back, when listening to the radio, I heard a commercial urging listeners to give to a charitable organization. I thought to myself, “Why have government programs not done away with the need for charitable organizations?” In fact, it appears that just the opposite has happened. In a counter-intuitive way, the more government subscribes to the “redistribution of wealth,” in like measure, the more charitable organizations are in fact needed!