By Eddie Hedges
Just after President Obama was re-elected in the 2012 election, I questioned how I should, as a Christian, view the government’s role in Public Assistance, Welfare, Minimum Wage, Disability, and other programs to assist the needy.
First, I have concluded from searching the Bible that we are to help the widows, orphans, and the “poor among you.” I have no problem with assistance to any of these groups and believe it is our duty and privilege to do so as individuals and as a nation.
I think the area most people have a problem is defining the “poor among you” aspect. As I searched the Scriptures, I found that those who are capable of working are expected and commanded to do so. Throughout the Book of Proverbs the sluggard, lazy, and those disinclined to work are condemned. The Apostle Paul, states in 2 Thessalonians 3:10, “For even when were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should be eat.” Notice, this is commanded and that these words come from the Bible, not from me.
The problem today is that many, not all, of those on some form of government assistance are fully capable of doing work. It may not be the type of work they desire, but if we are truthful, many people work in jobs in which they don’t enjoy, however, they are still working.
You can question the availability of jobs and the weak job market. In certain industries and areas of the nation, this is a problem. I believe there is a “location” problem in that there are plenty of jobs available, but people would need to relocate and retrain. In this case, people can find work.
Work is honorable. We need to educate our children and in some cases adults to this fact. I personally believe the crime rate among youths would drop dramatically if we put these young people to work. When you have unproductive time on your hands and you are constantly hanging out with your peers is when trouble breeds.
Second, in my search of the Scriptures, I concluded that we are all called to be givers, not takers. We are to share and help each other. The question is, “How are we going to be givers if we are not working?” Will we be able to contribute to society and our fellowman if we are takers? Again, I am not referencing the widows, orphans, and the true poor among us. What we don’t want is to feel like we have been taken advantage of by someone who is “gaming the system.” And this is the source of the problem. Those “gaming the system” are the takers and not the givers.
Third, let’s look at the issue of Minimum Wage. Employers have a responsibility to pay a fair wage and benefits according to the local market and skills required for each position.
However, a minimum wage position should not be a career choice. People should be educated and encouraged to grow and develop. To grow is to develop naturally, to become better by degrees, to mature and become. Develop is to improve or build up and progress.
I am curious how many Democratic Strategist ever worked for minimum wage? Of those that did work for minimum wage, why did they leave the job? Was it to better themselves and provide for their family? Was it a temporary position they took to get job skills and experience?
My recommendation is to give the progressives a moral victory and increase minimum wage to a negotiated rate ($9.00 to $10.00), then tie future increases to the same annual increase as Social Security. Then we should not need to fight this fight again every year or so. In return for the increase in minimum wage, the conservatives should negotiate some concession such as approval of the Keystone Pipeline.
Is life not about growth and development? Do we not progress in our education? Does a sport team not practice to improve? Why should our career and work be any different? We should not be content to get the “minimum” out of life, including our work. 1 Corinthians 9:24 says, “Know ye not that they who run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.” We are to strive to obtain the prize, not to be satisfied with the “minimum.”
I believe in a system that builds up our fellowman and not in one that tears down. What is wrong with a system that encourages success, growth and accomplishment, and individual effort, so we can contribute of the benefit of others and for the betterment of society? To me, that is where our true reward is found.
Eddie Hedges is the author of THE HEART OF FINANCIAL MATTERS, SEEKING A SERVANT’S HEART. Ebooks available for only $0.99 at iuniverse.com and barnesandnoble.com. For more information, please go to www.authorwebservices-gem.net/Authorsxpress/Author.