“And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country.” We are all aware of these famous words of John F. Kennedy at in his inaugural speech in 1961.
Maybe it is time to revisit that statement. Today, we see civil unrest as has not been seen since the great depression. Labor and Unions have fought various fights over the years and that is the basic premise of both major parties. The Democratic Farmer Labor Party (DFL) and the Grand Old Party (GOP). Labor Unions have long fought for the laborers and the GOP has long been known for its support from businesses.
This is not essentially evil. Generally, there are two sides to each story. My father always used to tell me, “It is a difference of opinion that makes a horse race in Kentucky.” That always gets a laugh, although it always seem to come up when my opinion was different from his — and he had no intention of changing his.
Fifty years after JFK’s famous statement, however, the premise may be true, but the circumstances are different. We have been witnessing the civil unrest in the state of Wisconsin over recent weeks. The Governor wants the Unions to pay into the union workers’ health care benefits and pensions, the Unions claim he is just trying to bust the Unions. Better heads than mine must grapple with that question.
This country’s fiscal policies are out of whack and we are headed for a disaster economically. It is not my intention to take one side or the other, but to contrast God’s economy with secular economy.
The contrast is striking. People want more vacation time with more income, and less taxes. The people want the Government to pay for their health care, their retirement, and their children’s education. The key word here is Government! Who is the Government? The Government is the citizenry of the United States.
I sometimes wonder if the people truly realize that the Government they are asking to pay for benefits is them!! The Government gets the money to pay for these benefits from taxes. The taxes are collected by the Government from the people who work to pay those taxes. Programs, ideally, should be to the benefit of both parties, with the idea of “the common good,” the overriding factor.
Taxes have been levied against the people from the beginning of time. The government is not a corporation. It is an entity whose responsibility is to collect money from the citizens for the purpose of paying an Army to provide protection. The government is to provide food and shelter for the needy among the citizenry.
Government officials try to win elections by promising more benefits for less work. Here is what the Bible says: “If a man will not work, he shall not eat” (2 Thess 3:10).
Of course, this is not talking about people who have the will to work, but who through no fault of their own cannot find employment. Instead this is directed toward those who expect the Government to meet all their needs. The Bible says: ”The laborer’s appetite labors for him, for his mouth urges him on” (Proverbs 16:26). Even today we use the phrase, “He/she wasn’t hungry enough,” meaning desire was not great enough.
People have no satisfaction when things are “given” to them. The Bible says, “For every man, moreover, to eat and drink and enjoy the fruit of all his labor is a gift of God” (Ecclesiastes 3:13). Think of the last time you worked on a project. Sure, it was hard. Sure it may have been frustrating while it was in progress, but how did you feel when you finished? Accomplishment? Satisfaction? Aren’t those good feelings? God knows what He is saying. Salvation is free, but we were born to work. “The Lord God then took the man and settled him in the garden of Eden, to cultivate and care for it” (Genesis 2:15).
It is good to examine your attitude toward your work ethic. Paul wrote this to the Colossians: “Whatever you do, do from the heart, as for the Lord and not for others, knowing that you will receive from the Lord the due payment of the inheritance; be slaves of the Lord Christ. For the wrongdoer will receive recompense for the wrong he committed, and there is no partiality” (Colossians 3:23-24).
I have a friend who is a Deacon. He works as an accountant. One day he was sharing with me, “I had a lot of work to do and I ended up having to work through the lunch hour. I was hungry and crabby, mumbling to myself. Then I thought, ‘Lord, this is a chance to give you some glory. It will not hurt me to fast this lunch hour for your Glory, so that is what I will do.’” Almost immediately, he told me, his attitude changed completely.
God put work on earth for us. It is a gift. If we rely on the Holy Spirit to sustain us through tough times, our yoke is light even when we work hard. © 2011 Stu Walker