For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.
In this verse, Paul issues an apostolic directive—a commandment—with the same authority as the Lord Jesus Himself. With such a clear commandment from the Lord, why are so many people struggling with this concept? Last Sunday night, Pastor Bill reminded us that the purpose of civil government as established and ordained by God was NOT to protect people from poverty.
What then is God’s plan to protect people from poverty? The answer is found in this verse. Work! Work is God’s plan to protect people from poverty. Welfare is NOT biblical. Work is biblical. Compassion is biblical. Love is God-like. But getting paid to do nothing is not biblical. In fact it is anti-biblical.
Yet, we have Christians who vote for politicians who enact anti-biblical legislation that enables sin. Are you one? There are only two reasons why someone would vote for a politician that supports the entitlement enabling mentality that exists in America. Reason 1: Ignorance. This Christian is not aware of such a clear biblical directive—don’t work, don’t eat. Or, reason 2: Rebellion. This Christian doesn’t care about the application of the truth of God’s Word in the culture of man—ultimately, this is rebellion against God.
But what if someone cannot work? That is a reasonable question, and the Bible addresses that directly. First the family has a responsibility to care for its members. In fact, Paul states that “if any provide not for his own, and especially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel” (1 Tim. 5:8). Then Paul goes on to explain that those with a family who have a legitimate need should be provided for by the church—not the federal government.
It is a liberal, progressive, social justice ideal that the federal government will eliminate poverty. But poverty will never be eliminated. Jesus said you will always have the poor with you (Mark 14:7). Poverty cannot be eliminated because laziness is a sin in all human beings that will never be completely defeated because all will not be saved. That is just the fact—it sounds harsh, but that is just the way it is. We should seek to do good to all and especially those in the family of God. Paul wrote, “As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith” (Gal 6:10).
The reality is eliminating poverty is an impossibility. In fact, the welfare state makes the problem worse. Have you watched the 3 minute documentary on Youtube about “Obama Bucks?” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z5tqH7UrzOw). It is a glaring example of precisely what I am talking about.
Hunger is the greatest motivator to work, and it is a legitimate form of motivation. A desire NOT to be poor is also a legitimate motivator for work. Finally, the ultimate motivation to work hard should be to glorify God. Our Lord Jesus set the example for us. He was a hard worker.