Now, some of you might know this, and some of y’all don’t.
Some of y’all might be with this, and some of y’all won’t.
But let me clear my throat.
Let me first state my sincere compassion toward those who have seen their job helplessly vaporize in front of them because of current economic conditions and poorly managed business. Times have been tough, and for many, recovery is no small task. This blog is not trivializing the situation many are facing.
I sat on this for about a week. Standing by what I believe is a timeless message, I thought I could “tone it down” a bit and feared that I wasn’t encouraging. So I opened the word again to pepper in a few more verses like “You have been faithful in a few things, I will put you in charge of many.” But what did I wind up finding?! PAUL LAYING DOWN THE SMACK HARDER THAN I WAS! The same man who wrote beautiful words of hope, love and encouragement to live as Christ, delivers distinct reproach when it comes to idlers. So, this blog, meant to serve as an uplifting place to lean into God, would do a disservice if it skirted around issues that grow our hearts and failed to deliver truth to learn and live by: we were created to bring glory to God through work, however mundane the task.
Paul is literally out of his tree with the Thessalonians – this is the 2nd time he’s had to tell them to get to work. He says: “Folks, I worked day and night, accepting no food without paying for it, in order to set an example for you.” He gave them this rule the first time he was there: “If a man will not work, he shall not eat.” This time around, he actually tells them to take note of the peeps who are sitting on their biscuits and to not associate with them so they would feel ashamed about it. WHOAH! I was just going to casually mention that our culture had an entitlement problem – I wasn’t going to make them all sit at another lunch table!
Imagine what Paul would say to so many today who have become professional schemers, figuring out how to get paid as much as possible under the table so they can still suckle at the teet of unemployment? Or to those who have refused legitimate job offers – even in their career set – because they can “make” more on unemployment. Or have been using unemployment as an opportunity to finance their extended vacation in which they figure out what “makes them happy” before looking for work? We don’t have to wonder: Paul‘s words (not mine): “The man who shall not work, shall not eat.”
Yet the masses are collecting unemployment – a socially acceptable method of collecting unearned money, versus the more “taboo” welfare state, which is…also collecting unearned money. Unemployment is white collar welfare. It does not work like social security – money was never withheld from your pay check for you to get back as unemployment. While consumer tax dollars theoretically do not go towards unemployment, the government mandates that every business contribute a certain percentage to the unemployment pot. Sounds like a business tax to me. No company ever thought to themselves, ya know, how about we take money from our bottom line and just give it to the state so they can redistribute it?
What is the difference between a welfare mom refusing to accept more hours of work so she can still qualify for food stamps and an able bodied adult refusing to take a job because they can “earn more on unemployment?” Nothing has been earned! In the words of Darryl Philbin, you’re “sittin on your biscuit.” The old fashioned sense of pride our grandparents had has been replaced by two generations with an unfounded sense of entitlement. There ARE jobs available yet able bodied, able minded people are unwilling to work unless they like the job. A college degree does not automatically entitle us to a comfortable office and a six figure income. Where one generation did WHATEVER it took to eat, clothe and live, our generation has decided “I worked at a bank – I shouldn’t wait tables.” “I’m 50 years old – what do you want me to do? Bag groceries?” “I have big dreams – and they don’t include landscaping.” What a crisis we have on our hands when our culture thinks it’s less respectable to do honest work waiting tables than to collect a handout. Even humbling work is respectable work. Incidentally, should a king really have been a carpenter? He didn’t seem to be above it…
God has given us something to do. So do it! “We want you, not to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience, are inheriting the promises!” Faith that the Lord receives glory when we accept and do even mundane work and the patience to lean into it, knowing that we inherit all of the promises that the Lord has made to his children!!
We work on behalf of God, to reflect Gods image in every task. We are to work enthusiastically because God commands it and humbly because we must account to God every action we take. I wonder if we daily asked ourselves: Did I glorify God by doing good work today? We might see God meet our needs when we embrace the pride of earning the bread we eat!