It’s Not Mine to Keep

What do you do when the government drops money into your bank account uninvited? If you’re like me, you become exasperated by the fact that lawmakers in Washington D.C. thought they had the right to meddle with your bank account at all. Then you set about looking for the quickest way to send it back. Because whether it comes from a Republican, a Democrat, or any other stripe of politician, it isn’t theirs to give, and it isn’t mine to keep.

I know almost everybody else in America is keeping “theirs.” I also know it doesn’t seem like it could possibly make a difference to send it back. But it lets me sleep at night. And it’s not so much about one person being able to make a significant fiscal difference as it is about one person being able to take a stand for what is right, to set an example and hope that others will care enough about their liberty, their posterity, and their republic to follow suit.

We the people have to remember that the government doesn’t actually own a benevolence fund.* In order for bureaucrats to give money away, they either have to take it from somebody else or print some more (which, in effect, takes from everybody anyway because it devalues the dollars we’re currently holding). We also need to remember that our help comes from the Lord — not from Uncle Sam. God can bless us more than the government ever could; and He won’t steal from our neighbor to do it. He owns the cattle on a thousand hills, and His ability to prosper His people extends even beyond the wallet, beyond the temporal into such intangibles as health, peace, opportunity, and favor.

I’m going to put the body of our two letters to the President below, not for pride’s sake, but for precept’s sake. The New Testament instructs us, “If you can be free, be free.” (I Cor. 7:21) Don’t sell yourselves, your children, and your grandchildren into slavery. If you know of an area in your life where you are depending on government rather than God, ask Him to lead you out of bondage and into freedom. Then show your broken shackles to your neighbor and lead him directly to the feet of the Master that can break his chains as well.

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p.s. Lately there has been an increase in talk of “basic income payments” which could be deposited monthly in the bank accounts of all eligible Americans. The same principle applies to basic income payments or to monthly stipends as to one-off stimulus payments: “Be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” (Gal. 5:1) The money may look “free” on the surface, but once you have become dependent upon it, you can be sure any continuation of your benefit will come with strings.

* See Davy Crockett’s “It’s Not Yours to Give” speech at fee.org.