Shame On the Idle Poor!
Karen Pansler-Lam, J.D.
Today, America has a new leisure class - the idle poor.
The "leisure class" used to mean the idle rich. Now it includes the idle poor.
The idle rich don't have to work because they have money enough through inheritance, hard work, thievery, or any honest or dishonest gain.
The idle poor don't have to work because they have money enough from thievery and dishonest gain - government, community, and church welfare. The idle poor despise the Biblical work ethic.
America was once a strong and productive nation because we obeyed the Biblical work ethic. For example, the 1935 encyclopedia The Book of Knowledge states:
All right-minded Americans have always taken pride in their vocations. All decent men and women expect to make their own way in the world by hard and faithful work. Our people have always looked down upon any so-called "leisure classes." Honest, faithful work has always been respected and appreciated in this country...
Look at the highlighted words: right-minded, decent, hard and faithful work, looked down, and honest, faithful work.
Sadly, today many Americans are wrong-minded. The idle demand they are entitled to the fruit of the labor of right-minded, decent, honest and faithful workers. While honest Americans are working, dishonest Americans are wasting their days in idleness.
For example, while working for a workers' compensation law firm, as I was tiredly going into work one morning, a client's pickup truck had a bumper sticker: "Work is for those who don't know how to fish." I suspect he was one of the many who filed a dishonest claim. By the way, I quickly left that firm.
Last year, a Salvation Army captain told me she quit trying to help the "homeless" men in their community because these men didn't want a helping hand...they wanted a handout. They refused the Army's efforts to help them get back on their feet.
But many modern churches encourage and reward freeloading by offering church welfare.
In the name of "compassion," churches hand out food and clothing and other necessities to the idle poor. These handouts allow the idle poor to spend their money on cigarettes, booze, drugs, prostitutes, the latest technology, and so forth.
Many years ago, I observed a murder trial. The victim was a local "homeless" man who lived in his van. He and the defendant met at a local ministry to the "homeless." The ministry provides free breakfast, free lunch, free dinner, free medical services, free clothing, free housing, and other necessities to freeloaders. The victim was robbed of a huge roll of cash and murdered. At the trial, it was brought out that the victim was on welfare and dealt drugs; and since his necessities were provided by this "ministry" he spent his money on drugs, prostitutes, and other sins.
Modern Christians have embraced the hippie theology of "Don't judge." And they smother the idle poor with good works of "compassion" and keep them in bondage to sloth and other sins.
Listen...false compassion is a handout. A handout keeps a man in bondage to sloth and sin.
True compassion is a helping hand. A helping hand gets a man back on his feet. He regains his dignity and lives in the image of God.
Ministries that encourage freeloading willfully disobey God's command:
For even when we where with you,
this we commanded you,
that if any should not work,
neither should he eat.
For we hear that there are some which
walk among you disorderly,
working not at all,
but are busybodies.
Now them that are such
we command and exhort by our
Lord Jesus Christ,
that with quietness they work,
and eat their own bread.
But ye, brethren,
be not weary in well-doing.
And if any man obey not our work by this epistle,
note that man,
and have no company with him,
that he may be ashamed.
Yet count him not as an enemy,
but admonish him as a brother.
II Thessalonians 3:10-15
Clearly, no true Christian wastes his life in idleness. God has called every man to work.
Notice Paul tells us to admonish the idle as a brother. Admonish means to warn or counsel him about the sin of idleness.
And Paul commands us not to keep company with the idler that he may be ashamed. But the modern church deliberately disobeys Scripture by feeding, clothing, and sometimes housing the idle. This is a great sin.
The Geneva Bible notes:
3:12 The Lord commandeth, and the Apostles pray in the name of Christ, first that no men be idle, and next, that every man do quietly and carefully see to do his duty in that office and calling wherein the Lord hath placed him.
3:13 We must take heed that some men's unworthiness cause us not to be a slacker in well doing.
3:14 Excommunication is a punishment for the obstinate.
We must have no familiarity nor fellowship with the excommunicate.
The end of the excommunication is not the destruction, but the salvation of the sinner, that at least through shame he may be driven in repentance.
3:15 We must so eschew familiarity with the excommunicate, that we diligently seek all occasions and means that may be to bring them again into the right way.
True Christians admonish the idler that through shame he may repent and walk upright in honest and godly living.
But wrong-minded Christians - false Christians - are deceived by the false doctrine of "Don't judge" and encourage the freeloader in his idleness. Instead of admonishing him, they shower him with handouts. This false compassion encourages the idle to disobey God's command to work. They treat the idler like an animal - a pampered pet. And to be treated like a pampered animal is to rob man of his dignity.
True Christians offer true compassion - admonishment and a helping hand - that encourages the idle to obey God's command to work. True Christianity restores man to his noble and upright position as made in the image of God.
But if any man refuse admonishment, God commands us not to keep company with him. Idleness is great sin and wickedness.
Shame on the idle!
And shame on false Christians who encourage the idle poor to willfully disobey the Biblical work ethic!