“For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat.”
— 2 Thessalonians 3:10
Do you dread going to work or tending house, viewing labor as a curse on your life because of the Fall? Well, it isn’t. Before sin ever touched this earth, God commanded Adam to tend the garden. God created us to have meaningful employment and to earn our keep. And He created a context in which we could live and prosper.
God reveals that context in His Word. While the Bible isn’t an economics textbook, it does say a great deal about how we can thrive. The Bible says that if a person does not work, that person shall not eat. (Of course, this principle doesn’t refer to a person unable to work.) The Eighth Commandment, “Thou shalt not steal,” makes it clear that we can own property, ruling out certain economic systems such as communism. In fact, I believe free enterprise is a Biblical principle. Most people didn’t understand this until 1776, when Adam Smith wrote his famous book on economics, The Wealth of Nations. This book sparked the worldwide spread of capitalism. Before that time, most people lived a hand-to-mouth existence, spending about ninety percent of their income on food. But between 1800 and 1850, wages quadrupled as people pursued scriptural economic principles, and from 1850 to 1900, wages quadrupled again. This was especially true in America, where free enterprise had its freest reign.
But in this century, we’ve turned from some of those Biblical principles. A misapplication of the concepts of justice and charity have created in our nation “social justice” (in other words, welfare). Public welfare is neither just nor charitable, because it forcibly takes money from one person and gives it to another. Public welfare also tempts people to take advantage of public money and to fight for as much of it as they can get. It destroys private charity and creates vice and laziness.
I challenge you to apply Biblical principles of economics in your life and to cultivate a responsible work ethic. Resolve today that whatever task comes your way, you’ll work for God’s honor and glory. As you do, He will bless you for your obedience.