Sunday, August 26, 2007

Hand Up or Hand Out?

As I meander through the message boards that I frequent, I occassionally see posts where people are informing others of gubmet programs for the poor. These programs, which are not well advertised or on the news every night, seem to have a following of a certain portion of the population who are more than happy to share the information with anyone who asks. It is a built in sort of advertising. These programs, who are intended for the person with an unforeseenable emergency (in theory), are often being used by those who seem to use them as part of their budget.
I am not referring to the single mom who has lost her job three weeks before Christmas, who lives paycheck to paycheck and then suddenly is without one. Or the person who is instantly stricken with a dibiltating disease. Those are the sort of people that these programs were designed to aid.
I am referring to the people who know exactly how many days they have to wait to go to the food bank, and go like clock-work instead of trying to figure out how to buy groceries. Ironically, sometimes, these are the same people who received the maximum amount of food stamps and yet somehow cannot make that $400+ last til the end of the month. Which is odd to me, since I can feed my whole brood for less than $200 worth of food.
So many of the people who take advantage of these programs seem to misunderstand the concept. They do not realize it is there for the tough times in life. But, there is a massive difference in being a broke person and being in need. Broke people always need something. They need a ride, they need to borrow a buck or two, they need something all the time. However, they always seem to have the newest designer clothes or other meaningless junk. Their kids have Playstations and XBoxes and Wiis. They have a computer or three and cable internet. They have premium cable channels. They have things in life that are just wants. However they never seem to have the needs. Having all the wants is what makes them broke.
Needy people, however, do not have the playthings in life. They have the basics and make them last. They very rarely have cable or computers. They do not, ironically, have as many needs as the broke people, because they have placed what little they do have in the right directions. They are generally modest and good, caring people who have found a slight disadvantage in life, whether that is by a plant closing or an illness.
However humble my opinion tries to be, I think that people who are dependant upon these programs should take a long hard evaluation of their lives. What junk can they remove? Unless you work through the internet, it is not a true need. Cell phones are not true needs. Cable is not a true need. These are all luxuries in life that should be seen as such, not as needs.
The true difference between the two is that people in need are looking for a hand up and the broke people always want a hand out. Until they learn to think like a person in need, they will always want a handout.
When Moses led the Jews from Eygpt to the Promised Land, God sustained their needs. He made the manna fall from the heavens, and they were instructed to take only what they needed for that one day. However, the greedy took more than the instructed amount and it spoiled. It was God's way of telling you to take only what you need. He wanted them to learn to be content with what they had. Just enough to get by on during their time of need. People today need to learn to have that mindset. They need to take from the gubment only true NEEDS, so that they can get by. They should not take what they have and spend it lavishly and then expect others to foot the bill for their true needs.Once they learn to get a hand up and out of the madness, they will learn that maybe they don't need as much as they think they do.

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