Food Stamps, Bud Light and Babies
A few days ago I was in the check out line at Wal-Mart. In front of me was a lady with some small children. It was interesting to observe what she had in her buggy. She had a few grocery items, some Bud Light Beer and two little babies. One child was about 6 months old and the other was about 2 years old. Standing beside the buggy was a little girl about 5 years old. This was a sight that brought sadness to my heart. My feelings were much like that of Nehemiah when he stood before the king after hearing of the deplorable condition at Jerusalem. "Wherefore the king said unto me, Why is thy countenance sad, seeing thou art not sick? this is nothing else but sorrow of heart. Then I was very sore afraid, And said unto the king, Let the king live for ever: why should not my countenance be sad, when the city, the place of my fathers' sepulchres, lieth waste, and the gates thereof are consumed with fire?" (Nehemiah 2:2-3) I felt a deep sadness and sorrow of the heart because of what I saw. Why did this cause sorrow to my heart?
The lady paid for her groceries with food stamps. Somehow in our society many have the idea that government should support the masses of people who are able bodied, people who could work and should work. Even the hypocritical rulers of the synagogue in Jesus’ day knew that people should work. They said, "There are six days in which men ought to work: in them therefore come and be healed, and not on the sabbath day." (Luke 13:14) The use I want to make of their expression is totally out of context but I love the thought that "men ought to work." Paul wrote, "For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat." (2 Thessalonians 3:10) God's intent is that people mind their own business, work hard and earn their own living. "Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread." (2 Thessalonians 3:12) People should work at honorable jobs, support their families and give to those who are in need. "Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth." (Ephesians 4:28) How can our nation continue to survive and how can our families succeed when so many will not work and so few are heavily taxed to support the many that could do much better? Many simply do not care. They are waiting for the 3rd (or whatever day check day is) and they are totally content for someone else to support them. How sad! The psalmist wrote, "For thou shalt eat the labour of thine hands: happy shalt thou be, and it shall be well with thee." (Psalms 128:2) When will able bodied people learn that it will not be well with them and they will not be happy until they work and support themselves?
The lady paid for the Bud Light with her money. Do you not wonder why the woman could not have used her own money to buy her own food instead of using it for beer? She had money for "Bud Light" but not for food. Strange! It is still true, "Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise." (Proverbs 20:1) The use of alcohol or other drugs always ends in misery. The result of drug use will never be anything that is good. "Who hath woe? who hath sorrow? who hath contentions? who hath babbling? who hath wounds without cause? who hath redness of eyes? They that tarry long at the wine; they that go to seek mixed wine. Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright. At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder. Thine eyes shall behold strange women, and thine heart shall utter perverse things. Yea, thou shalt be as he that lieth down in the midst of the sea, or as he that lieth upon the top of a mast. They have stricken me, shalt thou say, and I was not sick; they have beaten me, and I felt it not: when shall I awake? I will seek it yet again." (Proverbs 23:29-35) Jeff Thomas, a member of the Walnut Street Church of Christ is a good man. He has been sober for over five years. (Congratulations Jeff. We are so proud of you but more than that God is proud of you!) Jeff wrote, "In which group do I belong?" Social Drinkers: when they began to feel the effect they don't like it. They say, 'No thanks, I've had enough." Problem Drinkers: They drink specifically because they want the effect of the drug. Often they don't stop short of drunkenness. They can never get enough. No, Not Even One Drink: "And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit." (Ephesians 5:18) We know that total abstention and sobriety is the only choice for Christians. Our goal must be to be drug free, by choice, for life!
The lady had three little children. I do not know the situation with this lady. No charges are being made against her. However, I do know that 41% of the babies born in Alabama in 2009 were born to unwed mothers. There is also the horrible problem of about 3,700 abortions in the United States daily. It will most likely be the case that if these little children grow up with food stamps and beer these things will be a part of their lives when they are grown. Decisions that are made and things that are done by one generation have an effect on coming generations. Asaph wrote, "For he established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers, that they should make them known to their children: That the generation to come might know them, even the children which should be born; who should arise and declare them to their children: That they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments." (Psalms 78:5-7) God instructed Israel to train their children daily in right doing. "Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates." (Deuteronomy 6:4-9) Our every word and action has an effect on our children and on their eternal destiny.
Love for God and faithfulness to His cause is our greatest need in this life. “Jesus said to him, 'You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.' This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22:37-40) To become a Christian you must hear the gospel (Romans 10:17), Believe in Jesus (John 8:24), repent of sins (Acts 17:30), confess Christ as Lord (Acts 8:37), and be baptized into Christ. (Romans 6:1-4) After your baptism into Christ live and act like a child of God should. “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20)
By Charles Box, Walnut Street Church of Christ, 306 Walnut Street Greenville, Alabama 36037 USA