Friday, August 10, 2012

Christians, Work, and Welfare by Pastor Paul

One of the great debates in our national political scene right now
has to do with the administration of the welfare program.
This week’s topic of Christians in the Workplace was chosen many weeks ago.
Therefore, the opportunity to write this blog is coincidental yet timely.

Before Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit their mission was pretty simple.  Make babies and be in charge of the earth.  What a cool job description.  But they disobeyed God and found themselves kicked out into the real world.  And everything changed.

Genesis 3:17-19 (NKJV)
17 Then to Adam He [God] said, "Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, 'You shall not eat of it': "Cursed is the ground for your sake; In toil you shall eat of it All the days of your life.  18 Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, And you shall eat the herb of the field.  19 In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread Till you return to the ground, For out of it you were taken; For dust you are, And to dust you shall return."
God created humans to do work.  It is the primary means God chose to use to provide our income.  It is the source of personal satisfaction for a job well done.  It is often a part of our identity.  God created us to rise up and meet the challenge of work.  He calls us to use our hands, our brain, and the awesome imagination He gave us.  Ephesians 4:28 (NLT)  If you are a thief, quit stealing. Instead, use your hands for good hard work, and then give generously to others in need.

God did not call us to subsist upon the government gravy train.  If we need help for a season, praise God for American government.  If we are honestly disabled, praise God for the safety net of insurance and government programs.  If we find ourselves unemployed because of circumstances, praise God for help.  Giving and receiving help is good, and right, and Christian.
However, government assistance is there to help when things go wrong!  It is not the norm for the child of God.  Public assistance is not a career goal!  Yet, for many people it is!
There were three people panhandling in the 40th St. Stater Brothers parking lot at 11:45 last night.  They were under the impression that the money in my pocket should be used to subsidize their addiction to alcohol.  And they became angry with me when I did not pay them what they obviously thought they were worth. 
I have had similar sounding conversations with Christians who are actively looking for a reason, or excuse, to tap into the government pipeline!  It is as if they are praying for God to give them an adequate level of pain, injury, injustice, opportunity, or disability to qualify for a lifetime of doing nothing!

God calls us as Christians to help those who need help.  The Bible is clear.  Give your shirt to the naked, your food to the hungry, and shelter to the homeless.  The widow, the orphan, and foreigner are constantly lifted up as examples of people we dare not oppress, cheat, or misuse.  We should help the least, the last, and the lost with as much as we can.

Nevertheless, the scriptures are equally clear about those who are to lazy to lift their food from the plate to their mouth. [Proverbs 19:24]    2 Thessalonians 3:10-12 (NKJV) says that  For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat.   For we hear that there are some who walk among you in a disorderly manner, not working at all, but are busybodies.  Now those who are such we command and exhort through our Lord Jesus Christ that they work in quietness and eat their own bread.

With an unemployment rate of 17%, a public assistance usage rate of over 44%, and a city that can’t stay out of bankruptcy…  San Bernardino is a prime example of the consequences of a welfare mindset.  If you are in legitimate need of help then receive it freely with a grateful heart.  If on the other hand you are simply lazy --- repent, and ask your Shepherd to teach you how to find work.  And, if you are one of the unfortunate people who truly wants to work, but are laid off and suffering because of the general economic dysfunction caused in large part by inept and dishonest government… don’t give up!  Keep looking!  Keep trying!  Keep praying!  Get your life group and the church praying!  And I will believe with you that God has a great job for you!  I have seen Him do it many times, for many people!  He can do it for you!

May we all continue to grow in our understanding of God, work, government, and money!
In Jesus name,
Pastor Paul the Pirate Poppie

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