As of this day I am 62 and eligible for early retirement and could receive a monthly income for the rest of my days with no further work. It would be at a much lower rate than if I waited another three years, but it is sufficient for my lifestyle. My transportation costs are zero as I am an “unrepentant walk-oholic”. My medical and insurance costs are zero. I prepare my own food, most of which is locally sourced and of a modest cost. Considering my dad lived to just shy of 90, I might do the same, so it could be a long time of leisure.
However, I am a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ, and His commands are clear, including (Exodus 20:15, Leviticus 19:11, Deuteronomy 5:19, Matthew 19:18, Mark 10:19, Luke 18:20, Romans 2:21, 13:9)“You shall not steal.” So for this day, three years from now, or for the rest of my life, I state clearly and unambiguously, that I forego and refuse any benefits available to me via the Social Security system, as it is theft.
Let me be clear that this is my proclamation and not my imposition. For those who are not followers of the Lord Jesus Christ, do as you see fit, I hold you in no disregard. I proclaim to those who claim Christ that we, as followers of Christ, are obligated to pay into the system, as Romans 13:7 requires, but should not expect or demand anything in return, since it was taken by theft.
Why is Social Security Theft?
Social Security is not a mandatory investment that the government requires of its citizens, but an income distribution program. An investment would be where you place funds or resources with the expectation of receiving it back with growth.
However, from the beginning in 1935, Social Security is a redistribution program where those who are putting in to the program are simply paying those who are receiving the largess of the program. It is not investment but transfer.
A clear way to see this is that current “unfunded obligation”, or the expected payments to be made for those who are currently in the system is over $15 trillion. There are no existing assets to draw on, and it is the tax on the future labor of others that is to provide these funds.
As the demographics of the US changes, the ratio of tax payers to payment recipients shrinks, meaning each tax payer will be required to pay more to fund the system. It should be noted that in 1936 the rate was stated to cap at 3% and as described “That is the most you will ever pay.” Today it is over 6% and for the self-employed, like me, over 12%.
A dictionary definition of theft is the “dishonest taking of property belonging to another person”. As a US citizen I cannot refuse to participate in this scheme. The state will take my property without my consent, which is by definition theft.
As a follower of Christ
From the perspective of a follower of Christ, when the state demands a tax from me, just or unjust, I am obligated to pay it (Romans 13:7). But I am not obligated to gain from it.
Consider the shameful or sordid gain, or filthy lucre described in 1Timothy 3:8, Titus 1:7 and 11, and 1st Peter 5:2. This is a dishonorable or filthy gain or profit. This is taking from someone else by force what belongs to them. As a recipient of Social Security you are using your agent, the US Government, to take from others for your gain. This is socialism. This is dishonorable. This is theft.
If I were to break into your home and steal from you, would I not be considered a thief?
If I hire another to break into your home to steal for my gain, am I not considered a thief? I may not have entered your home, but it was done on my behalf and I received the gain.
If I desire a government, or state, or king to be placed over me, and they act as my agent to take things from you without consent and I receive the largess, am I not considered a thief?
Paul states in Romans 2:21 “While you preach against stealing, do you steal?” Does this not apply to my doing it myself physically equally to me using an agent?
Helping the poor
In the 1930s an argument was given for the Social Security program that was to help the poor. You will not find a command by the Lord to build an institution to do that for you, but for you to give yourself directly. Institutions take part, and in some cases most, of what you give for administrative and other costs. When you give directly there is no overhead, plus it allows you in interact directly with the recipient. It allows you to share funds and more importantly love.
Consider your “investment” in Social Security and Jesus response to the rich man in Matthew 19:21 and Mark 10:21 “And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, "You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me."”
Should we not see in Matthew 5:42 that we are to “Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you.” We are to give what we have, and follow the Lord, trust the Lord, and not the state.
Starting in Luke 12:22 we read ‘And he said to his disciples, “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on. 23For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. 24Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds!”’
It is the Lord and the Lord alone who is our security and provider. We give and trust Him to provide. Note also that Jesus was speaking to His disciples and not to the world. If we are His disciple, we obey His word, but we are not called to impose His word on the world. 1 Corinthians 5:12 “For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge?”
Consider also 2nd Thessalonians 3:10 “If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat.” How do you fit retirement into that command? Often we may have to reduce or change the work we do, but there is no concept of retiring, but as 1st Thessalonians 4:11 states “to work with your hands”, doing what we can, trusting in the Lord.
Trusting the Lord, is that a concept we see in Scripture?
Psalm 4:5 “Offer right sacrifices, and put your trust in the LORD.”
Psalm 31:6 “I hate those who pay regard to worthless idols, but I trust in the LORD.”
Psalm 115:9 “O Israel, trust in the LORD! He is their help and their shield.”
10“O house of Aaron, trust in the LORD! He is their help and their shield.”
11“You who fear the LORD, trust in the LORD! He is their help and their shield.”
Psalm 118:8 “It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in man.”
9“It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in princes.”
Isaiah 26:4 “Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD GOD is an everlasting rock.”
Jeremiah 17:7 “Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose trust is the LORD.”
Do you see a theme here?
In summary, as of today, as the state defines, I qualify to live off the labor of others for the rest of my days. As a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ, I will never qualify for that, but must wholly rely on the Lord, while working with my hands. This is my commitment. This I state publicly. This I encourage other followers of the Lord Jesus Christ to consider. Remember this is my proclamation to you, not my imposition.
Joshua 24 14“Now therefore fear the LORD and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness. Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD. 15And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the LORD, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me…”
Please, consider it.