James E. Farley

Some men and women cannot work. This may be due to some kind of physical or mental handicap, nervous condition, injury, or sickness, etc. This is, of course, understandable, and we who are able to work are obligated to help those who have such needs. “Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.” (Ephesians 4:28).

However, there are some who are just plain lazy and slothful. These can, indeed, work, but will not. Many find it easier and more profitable to rely upon others, or to depend upon the government to feed them. As I consider our current society, it seems to me that there are more of these kinds of folks nowadays than there used to be.

God expects people to work (Genesis 2:15). In fact, God expects people to work hard. (Genesis 3:19). Obviously, from the passage from Ephesians, people need to work hard enough to have enough for themselves, their families, and for those who are in need. (Cf. 1 Timothy 5:8) Working with our hands just in order to have for ourselves can lead to covetousness, and this is certainly sinful. Greediness and materialism should not be named among those who are followers of the Meek and Lowly One. Our Lord warned, “…beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.” (Luke 12:15). 


My father spent a considerable amount of time and effort teaching us how to work and that there is joy in doing a good job. Parents do their children no good if they do not, early on, emphasize to them the need to work. Many parents just give their children everything - even to adult, married children. This is terribly detrimental to them and to society in general. An old proverb says, “If a man does not teach his son to work, he makes him a thief!” 


The wise man expressed more than once the need for men to be diligent in labor. “He that gathereth in summer is a wise son: but he that sleepeth in harvest is a son that causeth shame…He that tilleth his land shall be satisfied with bread: but he that followeth vain persons is void of understanding…Wealth gotten by vanity shall be diminished: but he that gathereth by labour shall increase…” (Proverbs 10:5; 12:11; 13:11). He likened an industrious and diligent man to the ant who goes out and works hard so that he will have enough to keep him through the winter. (Proverbs 6:6 ff). 

The apostle Paul had some hard words for lazy and slothful folks. “For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would 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.” (2 Thessalonians 3:10-12). 


We need to work, not as men-pleasers, but to please our God. “And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.” (Colossians 3:22-24; Cf. Ephesians 6:5-8). 


Let every Christian resolve to labor, “…working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.” (Ephesians 4:28). -1179 Mark Wayne Drive, Louisa, Kentucky 41230. 

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