Friday, November 12, 2010

Nothing new under the sun

How to economically save or destroy a nation

Cicero in 55 BC:

The arrogance of officialdom should be tempered and controlled, and assistance to foreign hands should be curtailed, lest Rome fall.

What Cicero might say today:

The budget should be balanced, the Treasury should be refilled, public debt should be reduced, the arrogance of officialdom should be tempered and controlled, and the assistance to foreign lands should be curtailed lest Rome become bankrupt. People must again learn to work instead of living on public assistance.

What the Apostle Paul said:

In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we command you, brothers and sisters, to keep away from every believer who is idle and disruptive and does not live according to the teaching you received from us. For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example. We were not idle when we were with you, nor did we eat anyone’s food without paying for it. On the contrary, we worked night and day, laboring and toiling so that we would not be a burden to any of you... For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.”

We hear that some among you are idle and disruptive. They are not busy; they are busybodies. Such people we command and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and earn the food they eat. And as for you, brothers and sisters, never tire of doing what is good.

What the Apostle Paul might say today:

In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ we command you: Keep away from those who call themselves believers, but are idle and disruptive, claiming benefits that they are not willing to work toward. Such people have denied the faith given to them, offering a false gospel in return. Live according to the true teaching that I've given you.

Did you not listen when one of your prophets declared that "all reality has moral control?" You will destroy yourselves and your families by giving food and care to those unwilling to work. There is a vast difference between those who are unwilling to work and those who are unable to work. There is also a vast difference between lacking a paying job and not being willing to work. Many people lack jobs; no one with an honest heart will lack work -- the need for good work is all around, and Christ will pay the one who works, even if s/he is jobless.

Care for the widow and orphan, but beware those who use the poor as an excuse to extort and enslave your children. Christ Jesus himself clearly warned us against destroying faith with a theology of poverty: those who use this theology of poverty care not for the poor, but covet the care of the money bags. They use the language of the poor to graft and redistribute, enriching themselves all the while [Jn. 12:6].

There are those among you who hate what is good work; they are not busy, yet they are busybodies. Their tongues are malicious and their speech is deceitful; they use words not to enlighten, but to obscure, to enslave and manipulate. Avoid them. Their doom is sure. Do not let them destroy your families and communities, even as they destroy themselves.

Dear brothers and sisters, never tire of doing good. In due season you will reap if you faint not. Your Lord sees your labor; be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord!


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