Monday, November 3, 2014

Who is To Do God's Work?!?

Charlie Rangle made an interesting comment the other day about Democrats.  He claimed that they were doing God’s work.

"And so what we have to do is send a collective voice," he said of the upcoming midterm elections. "Everything we're doing is God's work: education, healthcare, affordable housing, [protecting against] discrimination, paying people the minimum wage."

First off, allow me to state the obvious.  Any party that boos God publicly, promotes and defends the murder of pre-born babies, and defends homosexuality, is not doing God’s work. 

Secondly, government isn't supposed to do God’s work; God’s people are.  Where in the Bible does it teach that God’s work is even close to his list?  When the Bible speaks of education, it speaks to parents.  Healthcare?
The Good Samaritan didn't look to the government to take care of the beaten and robbed man.  He paid for it out of his own pocket.  Paul speaks to discrimination in Colossians 3 where he says that in Christ, “there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all and in all.”   Also in James 2, James teaches about not discriminating against the poor in the church.  Affordable housing?!?  Minimum wage?!?  The Bible speaks much about working and that employers are to pay their laborers the wage agreed upon, but nothing about a minimum wage.  

Nowhere in the Bible does it teach that government is supposed to take care of the poor.  The Bible does teach however, that the Church is supposed to help the widows and orphans.   What was the welfare system in the Old Testament?  Let's look at Leviticus 19:9-10;

“‘When you gather in the harvest of your land, you must not completely harvest the corner of your field, and you must not gather up the gleanings of your harvest.  You must not pick your vineyard bare, and you must not gather up the fallen grapes of your vineyard. You must leave them for the poor and the foreigner. I am the Lord your God.”

It doesn't say that there must be special fields planted for the poor; it doesn't say that the farmers must pick the grain and then harvest it and take it a store where the poor come with their EBT cards to pick it up.  The poor had to actually work and harvest it themselves.  

Let's look also at Paul’s instructions to Timothy about widows.  I rarely ever hear this passage talked about.

“Honor widows who are truly widows.  But if a widow has children or grandchildren, let them first learn to show godliness to their own household and to make some return to their parents, for this is pleasing in the sight of God.  She who is truly a widow, left all alone, has set her hope on God and continues in supplications and prayers night and day, but she who is self-indulgent is dead even while she lives.  Command these things as well, so that they may be without reproach.  But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.
“Let a widow be enrolled if she is not less than sixty years of age, having been the wife of one husband, and having a reputation for good works: if she has brought up children, has shown hospitality, has washed the feet of the saints, has cared for the afflicted, and has devoted herself to every good work.  But refuse to enroll younger widows, for when their passions draw them away from Christ, they desire to marry and so incur condemnation for having abandoned their former faith.  Besides that, they learn to be idlers, going about from house to house, and not only idlers, but also gossips and busybodies, saying what they should not.  So I would have younger widows marry, bear children, manage their households, and give the adversary no occasion for slander.  For some have already strayed after Satan.  If any believing woman has relatives who are widows, let her care for them. Let the church not be burdened, so that it may care for those who are truly widows.”  I Timothy 5:3-16

It’s interesting that first off, families are supposed to take care of their widows.  Secondly, the widows who were to “put on the list” were to be at least 60 years old, wife of one husband and having a reputation for good works.  In other words, one who could not support herself because of age, one who was married only once and one who was known for her good deeds.  Interesting requirements, don’t you think?   

The Bible does speak a lot about work and laziness however.

“The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and keep it.”  Genesis 2:15

Man was given work to do by God in the Garden of Eden.  Work isn't a curse.  God created man physically stronger so that he could both provide for his family, but also to protect his family.  The curse came after Adam and Eve disobeyed God and God cursed the ground so that man’s labor would be hard work.  See Genesis 3:17-19.  

Adam wasn't the first to work, however.  From Exodus, we learn that Jesus was the first Person to work.  

“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.  Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth and the sea and all that is in them, and he rested on the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and set it apart as holy.”  Exodus 2:10-11

We know from John 1 that Jesus was the Word of God who created the world.  We also see from this passage in Exodus the principle that God assumes that we will be working.  This is why He instituted a day of rest.  Our bodies need time to relax and recuperate.  

Proverbs is full of references to those who are lazy.  The term that is used often is sluggard.  According to Webster’s Dictionary, a sluggard is “a habitually lazy person.”  Here are just a few of the references to laziness and sluggards from Proverbs.

“Slothfulness casts into a deep sleep, and an idle person will suffer hunger.”  Proverbs 19:15

“The hand of the diligent will rule, while the slothful will be put to forced labor.”  Proverbs 12:24

“Whoever is slothful will not roast his game, but the diligent man will get precious wealth.”  Proverbs 12:27

“The way of a sluggard is like a hedge of thorns, but the path of the upright is a level highway.” Proverbs 15:19  
“The desire of the sluggard kills him, for his hands refuse to labor.” Proverbs 21:25
“A slack hand causes poverty, but the hand of the diligent makes rich.”  Proverbs 10:4

“The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, while the soul of the diligent is richly supplied.”  Proverbs 13:4

“The sluggard does not plow in the autumn; he will seek at harvest and have nothing.”  Proverbs 20:4

The New Testament also teaches about work.  

Paul is very clear in II Thessalonians 3:6, “If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat.”  The context of this verse talks about the example of Paul himself and his own work ethic.  

In Colossians 3:23, Paul instructs in whatever work we do, we are to do it unto the Lord.  

The problem that we have here in America is that we have people who have been deceived into believing that government is supposed to help the poor.  I have a friend who calls them “do gooders.”  If individuals like Charlie Rangle really wanted to help the poor, they would put in place policies that would allow the economy to grow; cut taxes and cut regulations.  Quit stifling businesses.  Which is better, Mr. Rangle?  A job or charity? 

One of my favorite quotes about the economy and helping the poor is from Milton Friedman.

“In the only cases in which the masses have escaped from the kind of grinding poverty you’re talking about, the only cases in recorded history, are where they have had capitalism and largely free trade. If you want to know where the masses are worse off, worst off, it’s exactly in the kinds of societies that depart from that. So that the record of history is absolutely crystal clear, that there is no alternative way so far discovered of improving the lot of the ordinary people that can hold a candle to the productive activities that are unleashed by the free-enterprise system.”  Milton Friedman

Mr. Rangle, leave God’s work to God’s people.  The Constitution gives you your job description.  As a member of Congress, your job description is found in Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution.  Note that nowhere in there is anything about healthcare, affordable housing, education or the minimum wage.  That is not your job. 

To quote Jesus, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”