An Idea Borrowed

Years ago on a radio program someone shared that they read a chapter in Proverbs every day. Since there are 31 chapters and the longest month has 31 days it allows you to read through Proverbs on a regular basis. I use it as the launch pad for my personal worship time and branch out from there. On this blog I will try to share some of the insights I have in the Word. I will try to organize them in the archive by reference.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Protestant Work Ethic

(Proverbs 14:23 KJV)  In all labour there is profit: but the talk of the lips tendeth only to penury.

I am not a big fan of working out in the hot sun.  I see little point in mowing the lawn since it will just grow again.  My wife gave up on me years ago and hired a gardener.  I tell kids at school that I went to college so I would not need to dig ditches.  I have done my share of labor.  My father was in construction.  He used to get us up before school to push a wheelbarrow when he was having concrete delivered.  I can do it when I need to, but I don’t like it.  I used to think I had a biblical case.  I would quote a great source, God Himself.
(Genesis 3:19 KJV)  In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.
Unfortunately I eventually read the rest of the Bible and found a different interpretation of work.  Here we have the Protestant Work Ethic.  We find that it is really the Biblical Work Ethic.  This Ethic says “all” (3605)  “labor” (6089a) has “profit” (4195).  Work is good, even when we do not enjoy it.  There is a gain in our lives when we put forth effort to produce.  There is a dignity in all forms of labor.  Because of this we are not to look down on people because of the kind of work they do.  Too many people treat the guy working at the car wash as inferior.  Too many treat a waitress as beneath their notice.  This is not acceptable for followers of Jesus.  I wonder if lawyers are an exception to this rule?

So?  Practice that part of love which is described as kindness and humility.  The Bible does not deny social classes.  Proverbs is full of those references.  What it does condemn is harsh treatment and injustice based on those classes.  “Love is patient, and is kind...”

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