28 If you are a thief, quit stealing. Instead, use your hands for good hard work, and then give generously to others in need.
We are created to work. Remember Adam and Eve are to care for the Garden of Eden from the beginning. Taking care of the fruit trees and the animals. Work isn’t meant to be a curse. It is only when humans turn away from God that work becomes a burden. Being wired to work has a positive impact on our lives in many ways, and a negative impact when we are not working.
For example, short-term aid for people who have an emergency is helpful, but long term aid where the private sector or the government simply gives away what is needed to survive works against how we are wired.
You know the saying, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”
By the way, this is true, but I would add an addendum. “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; Teach a man to fish and make sure he has fair access to the market and the infrastructure that supports the market and you feed him for a lifetime.” Just saying.
Also, because we are wired to work we see how being unemployed can be so devastating. Not just because we don’t have a job and money coming in but there is that sense of accomplishment that comes from being wired to work. Being idle for an extended period of time is not helpful; it works against our very being.
Being wired to work also speaks to the concept of retirement. If retirement simply means traveling, enjoying recreation, and seeking pleasure, then retirement will quickly become a burden. God only rested on the seventh day, he didn’t stop working. When we imitate God, we imitate the one who creates the world and everything in it over time. God labors, he doesn’t just snap his fingers like Samantha in Bewitched.
And a key reason we work is not only to provide for our family. When we work as God designs, we have enough for our needs and then more that we give for the needs of others.
Imitating God, we are generous in helping others out. We are generous in supporting people we know who need help in their lives. We are generous in giving offering to support the spread of the good news of Jesus through our church. Just like God is generous, we are generous.
And when we are generous, something wonderful happens. God trusts us more with what he gives us and so he gives us more. A wise person knows you can’t out give God.
When people receive their subsistence from the private sector or the government for their needs long term, how is that helpful? Unhelpful?