“. . . respect those who work hard among you” (1 Thessalonians 5:3).
“Next” she said loudly. A young man left the waiting area at the State Employment Office, walked over, and sat down at her desk. “What can I do for you?” she asked. “Do you want to sign up for unemployment?” He had recently completed his military service and was looking for a job. Many who were getting out were taking mini vacations for 60-90 days by drawing unemployment checks before going to work. She almost fell out of her chair when he said, “No mam, I don’t want unemployment. I want employment.” After she recovered from the shock, she went to her files and returned to give him a list of several companies that were hiring. He went to all of them. One company hired him and he worked there, very successfully, for over ten years.
Work is a blessed thing. God Himself is a worker. He created the heavens and the earth and all that is within them, and He is still at work today. The Bible tells us many things about work, such as:
· God’s blessings are on work (Psalm 90:16-17)
· Hard work brings a profit (Proverbs 14:23)
· We should work with all our might (Ecclesiastes 10:4)
· Those unwilling to work shall not eat (2 Thessalonians 3:10)
The verse in Thessalonians has been widely used as a justification for not helping the needy. The key to understanding it is the word “unwilling.” There are times when honorable adults must care for their parents or grandparents. The church, at times, must help those in need, but responsibility always starts with the individual. Christians who beg, borrow unnecessarily, or steal discredit Christ and the Church.
Many in our society are willing, but they are handicapped, disabled, or too old. Some simply cannot find work because many jobs went overseas, and few exist here. This is particularly true of low skilled jobs that did not require advanced education or training.
If you have a job and are physically and mentally capable of working, thank God for it, but don’t forget the needy. We cannot, by any stretch of the imagination, call ourselves Christians if we do not help the helpless.
Dr. Robert Wilkerson is a minister, writer, and founder of People for the Christian Way, an organization whose mission is to encourage all people to practice Christian principles in business, politics, and every area of life. firstname.lastname@example.org, http://www.people-for-the-christian-way.org