California Storms, Generous Help, And Biblical Lessons

There are silver linings in storm clouds, more-so lately in California. 

In the last few months, California has been blessed with a tremendous amount of rain to combat years of drought, to the point where the state designation of “exceptional drought” has been removed.  Conversely, there have been dangerous and devastating consequences from the rain, from the Oroville Dam infrastructure issues to severe flooding throughout the Northern and Central state geographies.  One such area affected by severe flooding is San Jose.

Kieu Hoang, a Napa winery owner, is one of many silver linings in the storm cloud flooding of San Jose.  Hoang was born in Vietnam, and moved to California once the Vietnam War ended.  He generated wealth by saving and investing money throughout his career selling medical products.  In addition, he is a stakeholder in various pharmaceutical companies, such as Shanghai RAAS Blood Products. 

On March 1, Hoang gave San Jose officials a symbolic oversized check for $5 million to help those affected by the flooding.  He then provided the real deal and handed the check to Mayor Sam Liccardo.  The generous gift has been added to the $1 million in donations thus far, and nonprofits such as Catholic Charities and Sacred Heart are in the beginning stages of distributing funds to those in need.

“We’ll help people navigate the insurance companies, navigate the benefits, make sure people if they need another apartment can get what they need,” said Greg Kepfurle, CEO of Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County.

I do not know the belief or faith in any of those who are donating.  I do want to highlight the strength of personal responsibility, generosity, and grace; foundations in God’s Word, and how this blessing can be an example.

Many have complained that the government – local, state, and federal, have not done enough to safeguard residents of San Jose.  These complaints are decades old, yet little has changed.  Instead of relying on the government for the fix, why not take personal responsibility and fix it, as a community? 

Approximately 10 years ago, the federal government rejected a funding project to design flood walls, levees and other improvements to the low-lying San Jose neighborhood of Rock Springs.  The city owns most of the land along Coyote Creek, and at this point, has legal responsibility for maintenance.  If an individual had legal responsibility for a plot of land, and did not set up the necessary improvements to minimize destruction to others, a lawsuit and mitigations would occur, swiftly.  To this date, nothing has been done to force the city to make these improvements.  It is time for communities to take personal responsibility for their towns, and take the power away from governments.  Per the Constitution, government should focus on roads and military strength; everything else should be in the hands of the people, directly.

A few thoughts and suggestions to all communities, which can be extrapolated beyond land improvements:

  • Communities can band together and take care of one another without government, if each individual within the community builds wealth through biblical teachings
  • 1 Timothy 5:8 (KJV) But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse and an infidel.
  • Money is amoral, just paper and metal.  It is the spiritual maturity of the holder that determines how wealth is gained, and distributed.  Similarly, a brick is amoral.  Do you use it to build shelter, or harm someone by throwing it at him?
  • Wealth is not evil, and cannot be “fairly” distributed.
  • Proverbs (KJV):
    • 13:11 Wealth gotten by vanity shall be diminished: but he that gathereth by labor shall increas
    • 13:22 A good man leaventh an inheritance to his children’s children: and the wealth of the sinner is laid up for the just
  • God promises to feed us, but he doesn’t set the table with surf and turf.  We must work, use the skills given to us by Him, and live by His Commandments.
  • Wealth is uncertain, and requires a tremendous amount of maturity to handle it well.  Government does not, and will never, have such maturity.
  • God is never uncertain; He is steady and secure.  As Martin Luther said, “I have held many things in my hands, and I have lost them all; but whatever I have placed in God’s hands, that I still possess.”

I am not suggesting that people give up all their wealth and belongings; such a concept is nowhere in the Bible and frankly is not supported by biblical maturity.  For those of you who believe the Widow’s Mite is an example of giving to the point of bankruptcy, you’re wrong as you have not read the entire story.  Jesus notes she gave “out of poverty”; and He looked up at those “who devour widows’ houses“:

Beware of the scribes, which desire to walk in long robes, and love greetings in the markets, and the highest seats in the synagogues, and the chief rooms at feasts; Which devour widows’ houses, and for a shew make long prayers: the same shall receive greater damnation.” Luke 20:46-47

Luke is writing about Jesus condemning those elitists, who are immature in their spiritual wealth by taking everything they can, including from the weakest members of the community.  The widow provided everything she had to live on, even though the elitists took from her.

Reminds me of the vast array of taxes we pay.

Every town in the USA has fantastic communities of people with the potential to be personally responsible financially, and can grow into a spiritual maturity to handle wealth.  Government must eliminate entitlements, social programs, including social security, and give those tax dollars back to the people. 

Become active in your community to minimize government control and intervention.  Work to eliminate government intrusion, and set up your community to be self-sufficient. 

God Bless Mr. Hoang and all those who are helping San Jose.  Also, blessings to all of us throughout the Country, trying to achieve the spiritual maturity to develop wealth and give generously, while keeping our own homes intact, sans government.

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Tara Baney

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