googlef87758e9b6df9bec.html A Sure Word: How the Bible Says to End Unemployment

Sunday, November 21, 2010

How the Bible Says to End Unemployment

One of the debates going on in Washington is over extending unemployment. Part of the debate revolves around how to pay for it. Unfortunately, there's not enough debate among legislators concerning the wisdom behind giving money to people who aren't working. Nancy Pelosi made the insane comment that unemployment income gives us the best bang for our buck in stimulating the economy. If that were true, why isn't the economy growing at a blistering pace now? With an unemployment rate of 9.6%, we're paying millions of people not to work. We should be stimulating the economy like crazy!

Liberals tend to deny that unemployed people sometimes milk the system. If someone is out of work, yet is still making $400/week (or whatever) from unemployment insurance, what incentive is there for him to take a job that only pays $400/week? I mean, if someone could choose between working 40 hours or enjoying 40 hours of leisure – and still get paid the same – which is the more appealing choice? And let's face it, if someone could make $400/week for not working, he might even choose that over working for $500/week. What's more, he certainly wouldn't consider working for anything less than $400/week. Why in the world should I give up staying home and making $400/week in order to go to work for only $350/week?

The Bible recognizes this dilemma and has a simple solution. 2 Thessalonians 3:10 says, “For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.” Do you think that might work? I mean, if someone could choose between working or not working – but made the same money either way – he might choose not working. But if he had to choose between working and not eating, which do you think he'll choose?

Perhaps I should point out that this passage specifically identifies these as people who are not willing to work. The sick, widowed, orphaned, etc, certainly deserve our charity. It may sound hardhearted, but this is what some people might call, “tough love.” 2 Thessalonians 3:14-15 goes on to say, “have no company with him, that he may be ashamed. Yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother.” The principle is simple: don't let someone become comfortable in a bad situation. To help the person, you need to make him miserable about his circumstances.

Now, critics of my theory might argue that there are simply no jobs out there to be had so it's just cruel not to help people who want to work but can't. This notion is easily refuted by looking in your local classifieds. No matter where you live, I guarantee you the your newspaper has a “help wanted” section with jobs waiting to be filled. Even if there are more people looking for jobs than there are jobs, people will still find a way to make money if the alternative is starving. Why, he might even start his own business!! Don't you think creating jobs would grow the economy faster than paying out unemployment insurance?

Our federal government's approach to the problem seems to be the exact opposite of the wise approach. They seem determined to allow a person to continue not working indefinitely. As it stands now, a person can draw unemployment insurance for nearly 2 years (99 weeks). Not everyone who draws unemployment stays unemployed for 99 weeks (though some do) but ask yourself honestly, would anyone stay unemployed for 99 weeks if he had NO income? Any income is better than no income and anyone who once raised their nose at a minimum wage job might now jump at the chance if the alternative is starving.


Anonymous said...

Many politicians use the BIBLE or word of GOD to make themselves seem in-touch with the rest of AMERICA, well here is one for you all to read and follow, Matthew 22:36-40.
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” And for the record Bentley, I read and follow the KING JAMES VERSION HOLY BIBLE! Which one do you read? "LIKE" this page.

RKBentley said...

Thanks for visiting my blog.

I'm not sure if I understand exactly what you're getting at. I do know that politicians often cite the Bible to justify their point of view. I recently wrote a post titled, “Obama Quote Mines the Bible” where I talked about that very thing. There, President Obama invoked the Golden Rule to justify his position on gay marriage just as you have (seemingly) to support extended unemployment benefits to people who aren't working.

I don't believe we should have a theocracy where the government passes laws compelling everyone to follow Christian doctrine. They tried something like that a few centuries ago. You might have heard about it – it was called, The Inquisition? Christ's commands to feed the poor, help the sick, and share to good news were commands given to the CHURCH. Christ also said to give to Caesar the things that are Caesar's and to God the things that are God's. If we want the government to do the work of the church, I believe that we are precisely turning the responsibilities of God's people over to Caesar.

Now, the Bible gives us remarkable insight into human character and, based on my understanding of Scripture, I question the wisdom of paying people who aren't working. As I said in the post, it diminishes any incentive to return to work. The Golden Rule might sound like a license to help people out of work but 2 Thessalonians 3:10 was the instruction specifically given to the church on how to deal with people among them who refused to work. If an able-bodied person refuses to work, giving him money merely enables him to continue not working. Paul correctly points out that if a person must decide between working and starving, he'll always choose working.

Finally, I do appreciate the KJV. Most Bible verses that I've memorized, I've memorized the KJV translation of the verse. For casual reading of the Bible, I usually pick up a KJV but I increasingly enjoy reading the NT in Greek (usually the NA27 text). The study Bible that I usually take to church is an NASB and that's the version I chose for the Ref Tagger widget on my blog. When I'm seriously studying a particular text, I'll always refer to several translations to help me see the fullest meaning. There are Christians out there who are “KJV-only” believers. I think that is a mistake. It gives the impression that the good news is only available to English speaking people. If that were true, there are billions of people in the world who can never cherish the truth of God's word.

Thanks again for visiting. God bless!!


Anonymous said...

Really? Have you ever experienced unemployment? Before getting laid off, I worked very long hours. My boss died, and many good people were laid off. It had nothing to do with our work ethic. I work full time looking for a job. I am homeless. Unemloyment (you cite a pre tax amount) does not even cover rent where I live. It only covers my medical bills, nothing else. I have chronic health problems and can't afford to drop health insurance and be disqualified in the future for treatment. So, you think I should starve. That would be a solution? I came looking for comfort in the Bible, and I find a self righteous entry here that helps no one. I assume you will moderate out my comments.

RKBentley said...


I'm sorry to hear about your situation.

Let me start by saying that I have experienced unemployment. My experience of being unemployed only served to reinforce my opinions. The last time I was out of work, I received the state maximum of $855 in unemployment compensation every other week. It was quite a bit less than I was used to making but we had enough resources to get by for a while until I found something else.

During the time I spent looking for work, I did not even consider any job paying less than $30,000 year since that was barely more than I was receiving for not working. As a result, receiving income while I was unemployed definitely extended the time I was unemployed. I realize my experience is anecdotal but I am sure there are many other people who feel the same way. It's not hard to understand that if people can make $25K working or $22K while not working, many will choose the $22K. What's worse is that the promise of unemployment income also becomes the contingency plan in case of job loss instead of having a savings account.

I don't know all of the details of your circumstances but you mentioned that you have had health problems. I did point out in the post that 2 Thessalonians 3:10 is aimed at healthy people who are not willing to work. As I said in the post, “The sick, widowed, orphaned, etc, certainly deserve our charity.” This brings me to another point – providing for the needy should be done by the Church and not the government.

The government is not your salvation and paying you a pittance while you're in dire straits will only prolong your misery. If you are able to work, I suggest you work. If you are not able to work, then I would recommend you contact Christian charities that can help you.

The words of the Bible are not always comforting. They can also be sharp and cutting. Nevertheless, they are always true.

Thank you for your comments. I will pray that your condition improves. God bless!!


Mark Rowsey said...

how does this effect people that are mentally and physically unable to work? the people that are forced to end up on social security income or social security disability income? how doe sthis effect people that no matter how hard they try the just can not seem to hold a job even tho they desperatly want to sometimes for some of these people its better to work part time or not at all to be able to somewhat properly feed their kids. what about these days when a lot of women work and the fathers raise the kids? does this mean that the fathers are damned? i have heard it said work is work wether you get paid or not. I believe it means that god just doesn't want us to sit idly by doing nothing if your able to compensate for the money you get from the government do volunteer work and not get paid for it. would that be wrong in gods eyes?