What's Mine is Mine, What's Yours Is Mine
Community living is reciprocal. It is dependent on those who have to share, so that those who don't have can prosper, so that they can share with those who are in need.
Those who have financial resources are to pull together and help those who are struggling. Pride, however gets in the way of a helping hand and those in poverty are tempted to steal. I am going to take a little liberty and extend the idea of stealing to include not giving an honest days work for money received.
This can happen in two ways, by receiving assistance without looking for or intending to look for work, or being lazy on the job. Both can be considered stealing. One from those who are generous and the other from the one who is due.
As a culture we have raised an entitlement generation, people who believe that money is their due even if they haven't worked for it. I have watched nieces in my family live off welfare all their lives and even helped one another game the system. They have children and raise them to believe that the government owes them and that society is their to provide for their every need. Even when they have been given the opportunity to go to school (paid by some one else) they decide the effort isn't worth the return. They have lived off the community and have stollen its resources. Their actions make the system suspect and ruin it for those who really need a helping hand.
In college I worked bagging stuffed animals for eight hours a day. My two coworkers felt that taking extra long breaks was acceptable because in the long run It didn't matter. The company was making a profit whether they worked hard or not. They weren't giving an honest days work and stole time from the company.
We are created to work. It gives purpose and meaning to our lives. When God placed Adam and Eve in the garden and commanded to care for it, it was for the purpose of finding fulfillment. At the end of the book of Ecclesiastes we are told that at the end of all discussion we should find fulfillment in the work of our hands. God gives us gifts to contribute to the Church. When we work we are a reflection of God's handiwork, mirroring His image in us.
As with everything sin warps what God has created good and people try and avoid work for an easier way. But Paul tells the Ephesians that every believer has an obligation to the body of Christ to pull their own weight, so that they can contribute to the needs of others. Whenever a believer starts to think that the community is there to supply their physical needs without any contribution they misunderstand community life.
Work is also a way to give glory to God. He is honored when we work hard. He is glorified when we produce something with our hands. In all that you do, the Apostle said, do to the glory of God. The majority of the world works at jobs that are repetitious, hard, and boring. They are merely trying to survive and provide for their families. If you have a job that you love and are passionate about you are in the minority. Yet, every believer is to be thankful because God is providing. When we are thankful for the job God has given it changes our whole outlook on the labor and it becomes a witness to God's grace.
Work provides the resources to be generous. God blesses us so that we can be a blessing. If God's blessing provides resources that we horde then we are ungrateful servants. The greater the blessing the greater the generosity. That is how it should be, but greed and fear cause us to hold tightly to what God has given. It isn't just an ailment of the rich, everyone is tempted to spend everything they earn on themselves. I worked hard for it, it's mine. Yet, their is a deep fulfillment that comes from being a blessing to others. That is why the idea of passing it forward has been so popular. We have been created to be generous. God has been for us and we should be toward others.
We horde as a result of fear. The future isn't secure, we think, so we take whatever we have left and stuff it away for a rainy day. Saving is good, hoarding isn't. Dependence on God is good, materialism is not. A favorite passage of many believers states that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. That passage is about finances. God supplies so we don't need to fear, and he will strengthen us in our daily need.
In America there are two extremes. Those who work hard, have earned a lot of money and keep it to themselves, and those are shiftless and lazy and believe they are entitled to the wealth of others. Neither is the inheritance of the children of God. We need to work hard and be generous. I'm just saying...
Eph. 4:28 "Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need."
1. Speak Truth to one another.
2. Don't let the sun go down on your anger.
3. Do an honest days work.
4. Up lifting Words.
5. Don't grieve the Holy Spirit.
6. Let go of bitterness.
7. Be a gracious person.