We have all heard at least a hundred sermons on giving money to the poor, but when was the last time you heard a pastor preaching on the poverty that awaits those who give their money to the rich?
This proverb deserves some pondering. What exactly did Solomon mean by this? Gill’s Exposition of the Whole Bible says:
“He that giveth to the rich shall surely come to want: that gives to those that are richer than he; or that are in greater power and authority, that they may protect him in the possession of his ill-gotten riches; yet, after all, it shall not thrive and prosper with him, it will all issue in poverty and want: or, as the Vulgate Latin version renders it, ‘he shall give to one more rich, and shall want’; he shall be forced to give it to another richer than he, and of greater power, and so shall get nothing by his oppression of the poor; but as he has served the poor, so shall he be served himself, and be brought to beggary and want.”
Does this mean we shouldn’t tithe our money to missions organizations, churches, or ministries that have a bankroll over $1MM? Probably not. Because (assuming we are doing our research and prayerfully choosing where we give our tithes wisely) big or small — rich or poor — if the agencies are using the funds to preach the Good News and tend to the poor, then our money is going toward the cause of the Gospel and should be considered money well spent.
But what about those who are, as Gill’s commentary suggests, in greater power and authority? I’m thinking here, primarily, of our politicians. And no, not just the liberals — all of them. When we send our hard-earned money to the Republican Party, are those funds going to be invested in programs that promote justice and righteousness? Or will it merely line the pocket of some disingenuous RINO who vows to fight for us, but when voting time comes, gets in bed with the scoundrels on the other side of the aisle?
Furthermore, according to Indeed.com, “Most senators, representatives, delegates and the resident commissioner from Puerto Rico make a salary of $174,000 per year” (plus benefits). The site goes on to state that higher-level positions in Congress make more. For example, the speaker of the House makes just under $225,000 a year, with the president and pro tempore of the Senate, majority leaders, and minority leaders in the House and Senate pulling in just under $200,000 per year. This base salary does not include book endorsements and sales, speaking engagements, or donations.
According to Smart Asset’s website: “Members also get allowances to pay their staff and cover office and travel expenses. Senators’ average allowance is $3,306,570, while representatives’ is typically $900,000. Congressmen are also able to deduct $3,000 a year for the living expenses they accrue while they’re away from their home states or congressional districts.”
Not bad considering senators work an average of 145 out of 261 workdays a year!
And yet, these senators and representatives flood our mailboxes and email inboxes with letters begging for donations. And what do they promise to do with our generous gifts? They will “fight for us!’ and they will “make sure [insert social justice cause here] gets their vote!” But…isn’t that what we are already paying them to do?! Isn’t that why “We The People” hired them in the first place — to represent us?
Here’s something to try on Monday morning. Go into your boss’s fancy corner office and ask him to write you a check for $100. Then, if he agrees, ask him if it’s a one-time gift or a recurring monthly payment. When he asks you why you’re asking for money, tell him you plan to use it to do the job he already hired you to do. See how that works out for you.
That scenario is ridiculous, and yet, we get inundated with this exact same scam on a weekly basis. And not only do we not bat an eyelash…but we get out our checkbooks, take food out of our family’s mouth—and give them MORE money!
Look, everyone is free to give their money to whomever they please. And some political causes do require funds that the taxpayers don’t fund (such as presidential campaigns, etc.). But paying a generously salaried politician excess money to do their job? Well, that just seems foolish. And King Solomon (a pretty well-paid politician himself) apparently agrees.
“Dishonest money dwindles away, but whoever gathers money little by little makes it grow.” (Proverbs 13:11).