Whatever Happened to the Virtue of Work?

Is work really a necessary evil as some would say? Is it something to be endured until the weekend arrives? Many think so…where did this thinking come from?

During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries in Britain, there was a great exodus of people from rural areas to cities seeking work in the factories and metal works created by the capitalism of the Industrial Revolution. British towns grew too fast and infrastructure and services lagged behind with poor sanitation, filthy streets and over-crowded housing. Horror stories of the workhouses and industrial workplaces were well documented through the tales of writers like Charles Dickens.

Yet despite these problems, people still flocked from areas of rural poverty to new, industrial workplaces for their survival, and because they aspired to obtain better lives. And human life did improve. Death rates dropped, life expectancy rose, wages rose over time, and food supplies and diets improved. Famine and plague came to an end. Average working hours shrunk and the cost of goods substantially decreased. Technological leaps since the early 1700s delivered extraordinary gains in human prosperity and quality of life.

With such success where did the devaluing of work come from? Somewhere along the way during this amazing transformation, many of the educated classes stopped believing in work as essential to survival, beneficial, a source of pride, a virtue. They’ve come to characterize work as a negative.

Perhaps the origins of this mindset are linked to nineteenth-century political philosopher Karl Marx, who saw a working class exploited by business owners. To Marx, the source of exploitation wasn’t so much the conditions of nineteenth-century factories but the act of a business owner making a profit. Marx saw a world of finite resources which business owners and workers would increasingly battle over until the system eventually collapsed in on itself, leading to communist utopia. As history shows it did not.

Technology increased resources, reduced need and made people better off. Actually, it was those states founded on Marxist ideology that experienced economic collapse. But, even as Marxist economies came and went, the idea of work as a form of exploitation has stuck and taken on a life of its own. The Apostle Paul writing from Corinth to the believers at Thessalonica couldn’t disagree more.

Don’t you remember the rule we had when we lived with you? “If you don’t work, you don’t eat.” And now we’re getting reports that a bunch of lazy good-for-nothings are taking advantage of you. This must not be tolerated. We command them to get to work immediately—no excuses, no arguments—and earn their own keep. Friends, don’t slack off in doing your duty.2 Thessalonians 3:10-13 The Message

For the Christian today God’s desire is for you to work and enjoy the fruit of your labor. Learn and get better at your task and you will get a better reward…you will enjoy greater prosperity. According to Paul this is pleasing to both God and man.

Source: Nyunggai Warren Mundine in Quillette,

Advertisements
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Be Happy When Others Prosper

One of the strongholds of the spirit of poverty I found in my own life was this feeling of sadness when I saw other people making progress financially. As a Christian I knew I should be happy for them, but in my heart I had a feeling there are limited resources in the world and if someone else prospers it would mean less of chance for me to prosper. Call it jealousy or envy…I knew it was wrong.

What I came to understand is that when we have a mindset of lack or scarcity, we believe that everything is limited.This leads to comparison and envy. With an abundance mindset, we believe there’s plenty for everyone. All can be blessed. Consider what God says…

 Proverbs 8:17-21 (KJV)

“I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me. Riches and honour are with me; yea, durable riches and righteousness. My fruit is better than gold, yea, than fine gold; and my revenue than choice silver. I lead in the way of righteousness, in the midst of the paths of judgment: that I may cause those that love me to inherit substance; and I will fill their treasures.”  

God says: “…that I may cause those who love me to inherit substance…” Substance is resources; not for the sake of selfish gain and pride but to redirect and help those less fortunate than us. On the whole, people should rejoice in the success of others, as signs of the coming prosperity of their village, city, and nation. For example, across America today, in public schools and colleges and universities, one still sees many portraits of public benefactors who were successful in commerce and industry. Economic freedom is needed to create an upward tide—for social mobility, opportunity, and the pursuit of personal accomplishment.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Christianity vs. Communism in China

China is currently in conflict between Christianity and Communism.

Christianity was there first. It entered China as early as the seventh century, though it wouldn’t be firmly rooted until after the arrival of the Jesuits in the 16th century. The Jesuit Matteo Ricci sought to express Christian truth in a way compatible with Chinese culture, mastering the language, adopting the Chinese style of dress, and striving to show respect for Chinese thought and classics.

The communist government sent the Western missionaries, Protestant as well as Catholic, packing in the mid-1950s; hoping that would be the end of it. Instead, Christianity grew and became thoroughly Chinese. Now many Missions organizations estimate there are over 200 million Christians in China.

Communism was a European creation, the brainchild of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. Its first big export was eastward to Russia, with Lenin arriving in 1917 by sealed railway car to a St. Petersburg. Mao Zedong would soon import the same to China.

As you have heard me state in these blogs, Marxism and Communism are blatantly anti-God, anti-Christian and anti-freedom. China’s president, Xi Jinping, recently had the Chinese constitution changed to cancel term limits, essentially making himself the president for life, if he so desires. Mr. Xi’s authority rests on one thing: the communism instituted by Mao.

Mr. Xi, who leads China by virtue of imported Marxist ideology, is pursuing a purification campaign based on rooting out other ideas…most notably Christianity. All Chinese citizens are to instill in themselves “Chinese characteristics,” the most critical being loyalty to the atheist Communist Party. Atheism is central to Marxism and Communism because it makes it easier to control people and treat them as wards of the state when they don’t believe they are created in the image of God with gifts and talents.

What hope does the Christian church have in this conflict? The same hope that freedom has over control. The same hope that good has over evil. The same hope that Truth has over deception. Time will tell, but my money is on and my prayers are for, the Christians to prevail over time.

 

Source: China’s Worst Western Import by William McGurn – Wall Street Journal -Appeared in the September 25, 2018, print edition.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Richard Devos – A Compassionate Capitalist

Richard DeVos, the Midwest entrepreneur, businessman and Christian died this week at 92. During the Depression, his father lost his job as an electrician and resorted to odd jobs. The family gave up its home and lived with relatives. The young Richard delivered newspapers and helped one of his grandfathers sell fruit and vegetables door to door, an experience that he said taught him the art of salesmanship.

Later…DeVos got the idea of starting his own business while in high school. That isn’t unusual, but his results were. Years later, with high-school classmate Jay Van Andel, he started Amway, the door-to-door, direct-sales marketing firm that grew into one of America’s most successful private businesses, providing jobs to hundreds of thousands of independent sales representatives. “I’ve been a cheerleader most of my life, from leading cheers in high school to cheering on people to seize opportunities and realize their dreams,” he wrote in a 2014 memoir.

DeVos was a devout evangelical Christian and a born salesman. He believed in capitalism and he believed in individual capitalism, coining the phrase “compassionate capitalism.” He was a good example of wealth used to expand the fortunes of others. A series of significant investments in Grand Rapids—a university campus, civic center and pediatric hospital—spurred that city’s revival. Their family has dedicated years and its fortune to expanding the school-choice movement for children marooned in poorly performing inner-city schools. 

In 2006, he told The Wall Street Journal that when he got married his wife told him they would follow biblical teaching by tithing, giving 10% of their income to charity. He said they never deviated from that rule, even in the early years of their marriage when money was tight, and allotted half of their charity to Christian causes. At speaking engagements, he described himself as “just a sinner saved by grace.” His five books included “Compassionate Capitalism” and “Ten Powerful Phrases for Positive People.”

There is a familiar saying about leaving the world a better place. Richard DeVos used his talent, beliefs and wealth to do exactly that.

 

Source: Wall Street Journal, September 8, 2018, print edition.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Joseph of Arimathea

Concerning an abundance mentality….there is a term that many Christians consider to be a selfish, secular term—financial independence. Let’s define “financial independence” as having the resources on hand that will be needed to obey God’s voice. Too many times we have dismissed or not taken seriously the visions and ideas God has given to us because we do not see a way for them to be financed. Our excuse for not obeying God is a helpless, “That would be great, but we can’t afford it.” It is essential that we permanently delete the words “we can’t afford it” from our vocabulary. These words should be replaced with a positive petition, expecting God’s provision, by asking instead, “How is God going to provide?”

Let’s look at Noah, when God asked Noah to build the ark, He was at a place in his life of sufficient resources to obey. He was financially independent. There are no scriptures indicating Noah awakened one day and the ark was miraculously finished. There is no record of ravens flying in with pre-cut gopher logs to be fitted into place. The ark was built with manual labor over a period of years. Actually, it seems like Noah did not work on the ark much himself because he was busy preaching. So either his family or hired laborers constructed the ark.

It took significant financial resources for Noah to obey God. Could it be that God wants to provide for us in a similar way? I believe He desires that we have the resources on hand to accomplish His purposes as He reveals them to us.

A similar example from the New Testament is that of Joseph of Arimathea. He was a rich man, a member of the Sanhedrin, who was a disciple of Jesus. Joseph was ready and available when called upon to take Jesus’ body and give it an appropriate burial in a rich man’s tomb that had never been used before. This was significant because in Bible times, tombs were used multiple times. His availability and his financial resources played an important role in the death and resurrection of Jesus and the unfolding of the kingdom of God.

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

El Shaddai in India

As I write this I am in India where we have just spent two and half days with pastors and apostolic leaders. I find this country so fascinating. Although it is still 85% Hindu, the grip of Hinduism is weakening and Christianity is growing.

India has more than 65% of its population under the age of 35. We had a show of hands at the conference and sure enough the majority were under age 35. This young population is English speaking, tech savvy and educated. The best picture of what modern India looks like is one I saw with my own eyes a couple of years a go. While our car was stopped at a red light, beside us a motorcycle pulled up. It had a young driver and two young passengers in jeans behind the driver. All three were on their phones at the red light. This is modern India.

Although most people still think of India as a poor nation that is changing. The nation of India is beginning to rise out of poverty. In the last 10 years over 300 million Indians moved out of poverty (hand to mouth living) and in to the middle class (home ownership).

We spent some time at the conference talking about God’s nature as revealed by the Hebrew name El Shaddai, which means the God of more than enough. We find this name of God first revealed to Abraham in Gen. 17:1-5

…the Lord appeared to him and said, “I am God Almighty (El Shaddai); walk before me and be blameless. I will confirm my covenant between me and you and will greatly increase your numbers.”…and God said to him, “As for me, this is my covenant with you: You will be the father of many nations. No longer will you be called Abram; your name will be Abraham, for I have made you a father of many nations. I will make you very fruitful; I will make nations of you, and kings will come from you.  

This revelation was given to Abraham who passed it on to his son Isaac, who later passed it on to his son Jacob in Gen. 28:3.

May God Almighty (El Shaddai) bless you and make you fruitful and increase your numbers until you become a community of peoples.”

The Indian pastors and leaders at the conference responded to this revelation of God’s heart to bless them abundantly.  They met El Shaddai…the one who will “greatly increase your numbers” and “make you fruitful”.  You see God’s abundance works in every nation because it is Biblical and it can be activated when believers receive it by faith.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

From Scarcity to Abundance

You stare at your paycheck. Is it going to be enough? You look at the stack of bills on your desk. Somehow you are trying to balance what comes in with what goes out. Stop. Think bigger. God doesn’t want you to just barely get by…He is a God of abundance.

How do we make the transition from a scarcity (just getting by) mindset to an abundance mindset? Or as I like to say…how do you make the transition from poverty thinking to prosperous thinking? Simple…read the Bible. The Word of God will renew your mind, feed your faith, and get you where you need to be to receive. Let the Word of God transform your mind and give you a more Biblical, abundant mindset. God will be your abundant source for everything you need and then some left over.

Start renewing your mind today with these scriptures that prove God is your abundant source. When the scriptures are in conflict with your thoughts, guess which one has to go? Your thoughts have to change of course…

  1. 1 Corinthians 8:6 (AMPC)

“Yet for us there is [only] one God, the Father, Who is the Source of all things.…”

  1. Philippians 4:19 (AMPC)

“And my God will liberally supply (fill to the full) your every need according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”

  1. Psalm 65:11 (NKJV)

“You crown the year with Your goodness, and Your paths drip with abundance.”

  1. Deuteronomy 28:12 (MSG)

“God will throw open the doors of his sky vaults….”

  1. Psalm 31:19 (NIV-84)

“How great is your goodness, which you have stored up for those who fear you, which you bestow in the sight of men on those who take refuge in you.”

  1. Psalm 34:8-10 (KJV)

“O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him. O fear the Lord, ye his saints: for there is no want to them that fear him. The young lions do lack, and suffer hunger: but they that seek the Lord shall not want any good thing.”

  1. Ephesians 3:20 (AMPC)

“Now to Him Who, by (in consequence of) the [action of His] power that is at work within us, is able to [carry out His purpose and] do superabundantly, far over and above all that we [dare] ask or think [infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, hopes, or dreams].”

Have a prosperous weekend!

 

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment