Summary: Looks at biblical principals as applied to economics, capitialism and socialism. Expanded outline
- Genesis 2:1-3, 15
There has been a great deal of discussion in our country, during the past 8 months especially, about work, capitalism, socialism, and the ownership of private property.
We are having some difficult times, and people are struggling, but there are some things we need to realize and remember this morning.
“A few centuries ago, 4/5s of the French spent 90% of their income for food. With only what you and I consider a marginal tip to a waitress, they had to provide for all of their other needs. Europe had been in that condition for thousands of years. Until recent times, Europe was little different from modern Africa with the vast majority of people living on subsistence wages, eking out an existence from hand to mouth. Even as recently as 1780 in Germany, fewer than 1,000 people earned $1,000 a year or more.” ( D. James Kennedy, What If Jesus Had Never Been Born, Nashville, Thomas Nelson, 1994, p. 117)
Today, according to the 2000 census, 46% of all poor households in our country, own their own homes. 76% of poor households have air conditioning, while 30 years ago, only 36% of the entire US population enjoyed air conditioning.
In 1973, the average new house had 1660 square feet. Today the average new home being built is 2,434 square feet. The average poor American has more living space than the average individual living in Paris, London, Vienna, Athens and other cities throughout Europe. (Note: These comparisons are to the average citizens in foreign countries not to those classified as poor.) I remember hearing at the Jerusalem Model at the Holy Land that in Israel’s early days, the average home in Jerusalem had only 300-600 square feet.
Nearly three-quarters of poor households own a car; 30% own two or more cars. Ninety-seven percent of poor households have a color television. Over half own two or more color televisions. Seventy-eight percent have a VCR or DVD player. Sixty-two percent have cable or satellite TV reception. Seventy-three percent own microwave ovens; more than half have a stereo, and a third have an automatic dishwasher. As a group the poor are far from being chronically undernourished. Most poor children today are in fact super-nourished, on average growing up to be one inch taller and ten pounds heavier than the GIs who stormed the beaches of Normandy in World War II. (Poverty, American Style, by FairOpinion, Oct. 13,2003).
These are those described by our government as being “poor” and yet the poor in this country are better off than the majority of people in the rest of the world.
How did this come about? It came about because of the blessings of God and through a work ethic based on Christian principles; something we often refer to as the Christian work ethic.
As we continue our study of Genesis, it is interesting to note in Genesis 2:15, that God placed Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden and that while they were there, they were expected to work. Verse 15 says that God placed man in the Garden to work it and watch over it.
I. GOD INTENDS FOR US TO WORK
Many have the mistaken idea that work was caused by the curse, or the fall, but it wasn’t. From the very beginning God intended for us to work. Work sparks our creativity. Work brings a sense of accomplishment and achievement. To make something, to accomplish something, to build something, to design something, all of these abilities are given to us as gifts by God. When we work, when we build, accomplish, and design, we are following the example of our Heavenly Father Who also worked.
Genesis 2:1-3 tells us that at the end of 6 days God the Father rested from all of the work that He had done. God, Who has never sinned, and has never made a mistake; God, Who is infinitely wise and infinitely strong, worked. Then, He looked back over everything He had created and saw that it was good. He was pleased with what He had done.
> Exodus 20:8-9 Remember to dedicate the Sabbath day: You are to labor six days and do all your work,
We often notice God’s prohibition against working on the Sabbath day, in these verses, but we often miss another part, which is His plan for us to be working, producing, contributing the other 6 days. God intends for us to work.
Prior to Christ, the nations of old despised honest work and consigned it to slaves. 3/4s of Athens and ½ the Roman Empire were made up of slaves. But Jesus revolutionized labor. By picking up the saw, the hammer and the plane, He gave labor new dignity. Why?, because God intends for us to work. D. James Kennedy, What If Jesus Had Never Been Born, Nashville, Thomas Nelson, 1994, p. 107)