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Don't Feed The Foxes 03/06/2009

Red fox

Animals must learn to provide for themselves, even in the harshest times.


For several years Betty and I have enjoyed the Colorado mountains during the heat of summer, everything from the beauty of the continental divide and majestic views to the flowers and wildlife. On many visits, we have seen written caution: "Do not feed the foxes."

Upon inquiring, we were informed that feeding the foxes causes them to become unnecessarily and even foolishly dependent upon the handouts. They lose their ability to deal with the natural challenges that come and find the naturally available food supplies. Making a fox dependent on people destroys its stability and potential for a healthy future. When animals become dependant on handouts, they can forget how to fend for themselves.

The Bible is filled with references to the lessons we can learn from the wild -- from the predatory nature of the wolf to the vulnerability of the sheep. We are cautioned to beware of the birds of prey which always attack the living. And there are many influences both in the spiritual realm and the natural realm that affect our development of life skills enabling us to overcome seen and unseen predators. Since we have come to understand the absolute importance of not feeding the foxes, I have to wonder how many people we have unwittingly taught to depend on others and thereby destroyed their ability to face the difficulties of life.

If you have followed Betty and me on our journey over the last years or viewed our television program LIFE Today, then you are probably aware that we continually care for the helpless. We help feed the hungry and provide clean water for those who only have contaminated sources. But be assured, once we stabilize the situation in the midst of crisis and get people on their feet, we show them how to survive on their own. We actually equip those who were once starving with the knowledge and skill to grow their own crops and cultivate farms to help feed others in need.

Jesus told us to consider the birds, pointing out that they don't worry because God provides for them. Yet if you watch the birds, you will see there is not a lazy one in the bunch. They all work from daybreak until sunset. Jesus said not to worry; He never said to not work!

For decades we have created a dependent society that actually believes that productive citizens owe them a living. People are angry at those who are successful (unless they happen to be entertainers or athletes) and fully expect the "rich" to take care of them. Sure enough, we are developing people who oftentimes don't have the will to work and certainly wouldn't accept a job they consider beneath their dignity.

We need to examine many of the promises and provisions being offered that strip people of their self-worth, personal dignity and desire to make it on their own. Millions of people have no idea how to fend for themselves. The temporary help offered to a few in need has mushroomed into programs that kill the incentive to work. What was designed to legitimately help a small group of people has unwittingly harmed a larger group.

I grew up with the poorest of the poor; one of a very small percentage of whites in the racially diverse area. The majority of places I lived could not be called "houses." They were shacks facing dirty rivers or other ugly dwellings. One was literally on a dump. I never looked around and resented the people who had something better, but I never waited for them to take care of me. Even as a fatherless boy, I decided that if anyone could make it, I could, too. I didn't see a limit to opportunities like others in my area were convinced we had. I looked out and saw possibilities. At 12 years of age, I went to work six or seven days a week for way below what would be called "minimum wage." It didn't hurt me one bit. In fact, it helped me!

I thank God there weren't a bunch of politicians offering me something that would prove to be as foolish as feeding the foxes. That could have taken away my desire to work and blocked my opportunity to find a way out of difficult circumstances.

The Bible not only says consider the birds and consider the ants, but also says, "Consider your ways." I think it's high time to do so!

Author: James Robison

Editor: Randy Robison

Word Count: 748

About the author: James Robison is the founder and president of LIFE Outreach International, a Christian media ministry and mission relief organization. He and his wife, Betty, host of the television program Life Today; He has authored numerous books, including The Soul of a Nation, The Absolutes: Freedom's Only Hope and True Prosperity.

Media Contact: Randy Robison, editor at . Photo available upon request. Reprint rights granted with attribution for complete, unedited article. Revisions allowed only with approval.