Should Christians Pay Tax?

Yes, we should. But why? And what about when our taxes go towards things that aren’t right?

“Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God… For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.”

Romans 13:1, 6-7 (ESV)

I think most of us would agree that paying taxes is right for a Christian. After all, it’s outlined pretty clearly here. God establishes government to keep law and order. We obey him in paying taxes. We should not do this begrudgingly. We should see it as our due to the institution God has given to serve us and keep us safe.

Paul goes further by saying we should honor and respect our leaders, not merely tolerate them. This can be hard in our current age of partisan hatred and vitriol, but it’s our job as Christians to be different from the world. Resist the temptation to fall in line with how everyone else is acting.

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

Romans 12:2 (ESV)

Jesus offers us another angle on paying taxes when the Pharisees challenge him.

“‘Tell us, then, what you think. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?’ But Jesus, aware of their malice, said, ‘Why put me to the test, you hypocrites? Show me the coin for the tax.’ And they brought him a denarius. And Jesus said to them, ‘Whose likeness and inscription is this?’ They said, ‘Caesar’s.’ Then he said to them, ‘Therefore render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.'”

Matthew 22:17-21 (ESV)

Jesus confirms Paul’s words (perhaps the other way around), but as usual, he goes even further. Have you ever stopped and really thought about that phrase before? “…to God the things that are God’s.” That’s the real kicker. Not only should we offer up our taxes to the government, but we should offer up ourselves to God. He rightfully purchased us on the cross. We owe him our time, our money, and our lives. That’s a tall order.

“Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.”

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (ESV)

“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.”

Romans 12:1-2 (ESV)

It is a far higher and more difficult calling to give God the things that are God’s than to give Caesar the things that are Caesar’s. Yet the Pharisees saw it the other way around. They were shocked Jesus would support this tax. They hated their government, and for good reason. This brings us to another point. Should Christians pay taxes to corrupt governments committing evil acts?

“If Christians can support Rome, what government could they not support? This is the government that killed Christ and almost all the apostles. And here Jesus is telling them, pay for it. Pay that tax that is going to pay the salary of the very men who are about to drive the nails into My hands, not because what they are doing is right, but because government reflects the character of God. God will deal with them.”1

Mark Dever

The key principle here is not about where your money eventually goes, but about respecting the role of government as God has laid it out. Our role is obedience. It’s not ultimately up to the church to keep authorities accountable. It’s up to God.

Does this mean we should never try to improve our government or work to prevent evil from being committed with our tax dollars? No. There’s absolutely a time and a place for making a positive difference, especially in America where we have the privilege to participate in our government. Some of us are called to be godly missionaries, some to be godly office workers, and others to be godly civil servants. My goal is not to dissuade anyone from upholding justice or acting according to their convictions. My goal is to make it undeniably clear that Jesus instructed his followers to pay a tax to their tyrannical ruler and to give themselves up to their glorious Creator.

Let me know your thoughts about taxes in the comments below. Enter your email if you want to be notified when my next post goes live. Thanks for reading. Godspeed.

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  1. Mark Dever, God and Politics: Jesus’ Vision for Society, State and Government (Leyland, England: 10Publishing, 2016), 27.

The Insanity of the Pro-Choice Agenda

“For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.”

Psalm 139:13-16 (ESV)

In two days, a bill called the “Women’s Health Protection Act” will go to a vote in the US Senate. Sounds pretty great, right? Shockingly enough, this bill has nothing at all to do with protecting health. It’s specifically designed to guarantee immunity for murder. And don’t worry, there’s a nice helping of virtue signaling in there as well.

The pro-abortion act was passed by the House of Representatives last September. It came shortly after Texas implemented new restrictions on abortion. With a pro-life majority on the Supreme Court, which declined to interfere with the Texas law, there’s real hope that Roe v. Wade might be overturned in June of this year. The death cult is scared, but they aren’t going down without a fight. Even though it’s expected not to make it past the Senate, this new bill is a perfect representation of just how insane the “pro-choice” agenda has become in 2022.

Don’t take my word for it. I encourage you to read through the act in its entirety here. I will be referring to specific sections to give you the highlights. Let’s begin.

Abortion services are essential to health care and access to those services is central to people’s ability to participate equally in the economic and social life of the United States.1

In the span of one sentence, murder has been justified not only as “health care,” but as a key component of equality. This is blatant propaganda of Orwellian proportions. It borders on an eliminationist mockery of feminism, declaring that women can only truly be equal with men when they offer up their children to be slaughtered in cold blood. If you believe all people are created equal, as is stated in our Declaration of Independence, it’s impossible to propose that women are lesser without the freedom to murder their offspring; it’s beyond any shred of reason to simultaneously hold that the worth of a child’s life is dependent on whether he or she is wanted.

Reproductive Justice is a human right that can and will be achieved when all people… have the economic, social, and political power and resources to define and make decisions about their bodies, health, sexuality, families, and communities in all areas of their lives, with dignity and self-determination.2

Ah yes, it wouldn’t be a leftist propaganda piece without some good old social justice. Not only do they frame murder as a tenet of feminism and equality, but now they have the audacity to invent a phrase to get the idea across that they’re really, definitely the good guys here. After all, who could disagree with justice?

The funny thing is that in avoiding the question, they beg another more gruesome one. They claim abortion is about granting people the power to make decisions about their bodies. Rather than address whether or not abortion is murder, they insist that this is only about the power of the individual. They miss the point entirely by pretending unborn children are only organs of the mother, but what’s worse are the implications. They specify families and communities here. Are they insinuating that mothers have the right to slice through their relatives and neighbors until the world is to their liking? They would say no, I’m sure. But the language is pretty damning. Perhaps they should hire proofreaders.

Pro-Life is Racist?

Reproductive justice seeks to address restrictions on reproductive health, including abortion, that perpetuate systems of oppression… white supremacy, and anti-Black racism. This violent legacy has manifested in policies including enslavement, rape, and experimentation on Black women; forced sterilizations; medical experimentation on low-income women’s reproductive systems; and the forcible removal of Indigenous children. Access to… abortion services, has always been deficient in the United States for Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color (BIPOC).3

Whew, that’s a lot of desperation in a single paragraph. You can almost see them begging at the feet of minorities to approve of their violent crusade. This paragraph, like many others, was entirely unnecessary for “abortion rights” to be preserved as a result of this bill. They chose to add it for political reasons. They couldn’t just advocate for murder. They had to imply that anyone opposing their bloody tirade is a racist complicit in rape, slavery, and forced sterilization.

Let’s take a look at the logic for a moment. The claim? Restrictions on abortion perpetuate racism. The evidence? “Policies including enslavement, rape, and experimentation on Black women…” The list goes on. None of these “policies” exist today. By their own admission, they’re trying to fix something that isn’t broken. It’s all empty ramblings. The only thing in this list that’s somewhat relevant today in America is the “forcible removal of Indigenous children.” In a stunning turn of events, they’ve suddenly decided to defend the rights of young ones, but only if they’re brown and only to exploit their existence for political clout. If that isn’t the very definition of racism, I don’t know what is. This is not to mention that even with control over the House and the presidency, Democrats still haven’t done anything to reverse the “kids in cages” problem at the border that has existed since the Obama era. The hypocrisy is pungent.

Lastly, they claim that access to abortion has “always been deficient” for minorities in the US. This is simply not true. Let’s take a look at this infographic by the pro-abortion group, Guttmacher Institute.

They claim there’s a horrible problem with income inequality, racism, and discrimination as it relates to abortion. Then they show us the data. As it turns out, white women have the fewest abortions per capita! Minorities have far more abortions. It doesn’t seem like they’re having much trouble finding people to kill their babies for them, even assuming they have less access to necessary funds and available clinics.

Now, I’m not ignorant of their intentions here. They don’t want you to look at the number of abortions per capita. They want you to notice that the rate of decline over time is slowest for white people. Their hypothesis is that the boogeyman of “systematic racism” is somehow cutting off access to abortion (and/or birth control) for minorities. They couldn’t imagine any other alternative, least of all that minorities are just choosing to have fewer abortions for personal reasons. Culture isn’t homogeneous and attributing an effect to a cause without evidence is bad science.

The legacy of restrictions on reproductive health, rights, and justice is not a dated vestige of a dark history. Presently, the harms of abortion-specific restrictions fall especially heavily on people with low incomes, BIPOC, immigrants, young people, people with disabilities, and those living in rural… areas.4

Ah, it seems they anticipated my objection that the evils they wrongfully attribute to pro-lifers are irrelevant to modern times. Unfortunately, they’ve forgotten to list any evidence. What a shame. We only get more empty words.

Don’t Forget Trans People!

The terms “woman” and “women” are used in this bill to reflect the identity of the majority of people targeted and affected by restrictions on abortion services… which are rooted in misogyny. However, access to abortion services is critical to the health of every person capable of becoming pregnant. This Act is intended to protect all people with the capacity for pregnancy—cisgender women, transgender men, non-binary individuals, those who identify with a different gender, and others.5

That’s right. They have to satisfy every possible gender-obsessed group they can think of. That includes trans people. But the funny thing is, in appealing to a tiny minority of their audience, they alienate the vast majority. Women are getting tired of confused men intruding on their spaces and identity, removing femininity from language and culture in favor of politically correct androgyny. What ever happened to feminism?

It reminds me of what happened to J.K. Rowling. She preached feminism for years and was loved by the left. When she saw the insanity of the trans movement, she stood by real women in refusing to change her language or her beliefs. She’s since been canceled by the very people who once championed her cause. These days, it’s not enough to be liberal. It’s not enough to be feminist. It’s not enough to advocate for abortion. You have to say men are women. Men can get pregnant. Men can be oppressed by abortion restrictions. I’m again reminded of Orwell’s 1984. Truth is stranger than fiction.

Here are a couple more quotes that stood out to me. “Abortion is essential health care and one of the safest medical procedures in the United States.”6 Murder is safe and essential? Makes sense to me! “International human rights law recognizes that access to abortion is intrinsically linked to the rights to life, health, equality and non-discrimination, privacy, and freedom from ill-treatment.”7 Abortion is linked to the right to life? That’s the saddest thing I’ve heard all day. Also, pro-lifers are apparently anti-privacy now. I wasn’t aware of that one.

Conclusion

I know I’m not changing anyone’s mind with this post. Those of you who support abortion probably can’t stand me. I’m comfortable with that. Those of you who are against abortion probably agree with me. My goal today was not to provide some amazing new insight on abortion itself. My goal was to highlight just how nuts this “pro-choice” movement has become in recent years, to reveal their true agenda. It’s not just about abortion anymore. It’s about changing language to accommodate insane mental gymnastics. It’s about attaching any and all oppression, past and present, to conservatives. It’s about elevating men who wish they were women above actual women.

Do you still think this is about “women’s health?”

Leave your answer in the comments below. Enter your email if you want to be notified when my next post goes live. Thanks for reading. Godspeed.

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  1. Section 2, (a), (1) of the Women’s Health Protection Act of 2021, H. R. 3755, 117th Cong. (2021)
  2. IBID, Section 2, (a), (4)
  3. IBID, Section 2, (a), (5)
  4. IBID, Section 2, (a), (6)
  5. IBID, Section 2, (a), (8)
  6. IBID, Section 2, (a), (11)
  7. IBID, Section 2, (a), (16)

Why the Anti-Work Movement is so Popular with Gen Z

Last week, we recalled the wacky series of events that transpired as a result of a Fox News interview with one of the moderators of the Anti-Work subreddit. Click here to read that post if you’re interested. It’s a doozy. Today, rather than highlight what’s so very absurd about this movement, we’re going to give them the benefit of the doubt. Why are so many young people fed up with their jobs? Why are they disillusioned with capitalism as a whole? What do they really have a problem with and what can be done to address it?

Now that it’s gone mainstream, I’m not convinced the anti-work movement is really about work at all. I think it’s filled with young adults who have a fundamentally different perspective on the world than their parents, thanks to their upbringing and personal values. The generational gap between those who run businesses and those who need jobs is greater than ever. This is the real issue at hand. At the end of the day, all the socialist policy and impossible demands are a cry for help and a signal that a new world is coming. That might not be such a bad thing. Let’s talk about why.

The New Anti-Work Movement

When the anti-work movement got started, it was fairly niche and consisted mostly of radicals who demanded universal basic income and violent reform to shift the workforce out of the hands of the rich and into a government-controlled system supposedly to support the poor and middle class (basically, a form of communism). This is where the movement got its name. It was actually about getting rid of work and creating a utopia on the backs of the wealthy. It’s safe to say that, since becoming extremely popular with young people of all backgrounds, the movement has taken on a completely new identity.

If you look into the anti-work movement today, most of what you’ll find are personal accounts of struggles people have with issues related to their jobs. Maybe their boss tried to make them work on their day off. Maybe they got a condescending email from corporate and quit their job along with several coworkers. Maybe they were ridiculed by their grandmother for not being able to afford rent. Whatever the case, these are people who are sick of modern work culture. They don’t necessarily want to overturn our entire economy so they can sit on the couch all day. They’re just tired of feeling overworked and stressed all the time. They hate the office lingo and passive aggressive communication. They want to be respected. They want security and personal fulfillment. They want fair wages. They aren’t necessarily anti-work. They just want work to be better. And yes, some of them are just lazy (as we saw last week).

This is the true face of the anti-work movement going forward. While radical communists and anarchists will always find some sanctuary in these communities, they’re not likely to get their ideas put into action any time soon (knock on wood). The real goal should be to change work culture for the better bit by bit. But what does that look like? From what I’ve observed, these are the ideas with the most consensus.

Compensation

People are getting sick of our culture’s current standards for compensation, especially in a time when inflation is getting worse. But it’s not just low wages that are the problem. There’s a significant demand for medical and dental benefits, paid time off, maternity and paternity leave, sick days, fair raises, and generous overtime/holiday pay. But we can’t just pile on more and more benefits without consequence, right? Employers neglect these things because they’re expensive, not because they hate their employees. While this is true, I posit we’ll see a shift as time goes on. Employers will have to balance their budgets towards their workforce if they want the best performance and consistency. Alternatively, we’ll start seeing lower wages accompany exceptional benefits. Supply will have to meet demand one way or another.

We’re seeing the effects of this strain right now as less and less people are working and thousands of businesses are understaffed. While some attribute the “labor shortage” to laziness, welfare checks, or entitlement, I can tell you from personal experience that most of what’s happening is a combination of two things. First, we saw a significant number of elderly workers decide to retire early when COVID was at its peak. Second, we’re seeing a mismatch between what young people want and what businesses are willing to offer.

One of my previous bosses complained to me that new hires want unrealistically high wages these days. That company rejected plenty of applicants before hiring someone they liked. In my recent job search, I found loads of open listings and only heard back or got an interview for a handful of them. There are plenty of similar stories you can find all over the internet. This tells me that businesses aren’t yet desperate enough for workers. If they were, they would raise wages and hire more quickly. No, what we’re seeing is a stand-off between young people and businesses. Their desires are mutually exclusive and eventually someone has to give in. This is why I predict we’ll eventually see a shift in company budgets toward the workforce in an effort to keep doors open and cash flowing. It only makes sense.

Honesty and Listed Pay

In addition to compensation, there’s a massive push in my generation for employers to be more honest with their employees regarding the jobs being offered. The most common demand I’ve seen is for all job listings to specify the wage up front. After all, there’s nothing more frustrating than wasting your time applying for a job, getting a screen call, scheduling an interview, arriving on time, and shaking the hands of three different people only to be seated in front of someone asking you to work for half of what your bottom line is. In today’s fast-moving world, we’re running out of patience for this kind of thing.

But don’t get me wrong. Businesses aren’t purposefully wasting time. I believe the reason this practice exists stems from jobs where the salary is negotiable. There are many potential candidates for any given position who will take much lower wages than what’s competitive. By refusing to list an up-front wage, employers are saving money by letting people sell themselves short voluntarily. If a lower wage than the industry standard was listed, they would miss out on lots of potential interviews with people willing to eventually settle during the hiring process. If they listed a higher wage, they would waste money on people who would gladly take less. By keeping things vague and negotiable, they’re able to pay most of their workforce lower wages and only cave to higher wages for their most valuable and/or dominant employees.

I think we’ll see future employers start to list up-front wages more often for at least the low-level jobs where pay isn’t negotiable. We’re already starting to see ranges listed on more job ads. This at least gives a ballpark for a potential wage and avoids wasting time on interviews where neither party will come out remotely satisfied. But ultimately, this tactic is motivated by money and will only evolve enough to keep the next generation coming in for more interviews. This isn’t about honesty, per se. It’s just a disconnect in perspective.

Respect

Another significant desire I’ve seen in my generation is for mutual respect in the workplace. It’s a simple thing, but it’s all too uncommon. I remember feeling the effects of this in some of my previous jobs. People in managerial positions sometimes develop a superiority complex of sorts. They aren’t just okay with bossing others around; they love it. They love finding wrongs to right and problems to solve, even where none exist. I’ve been on the receiving end of a few power trips in my time. Whether I misunderstood an assignment or missed a deadline, my superior didn’t seem interested in helping me do better or accepting my apology. The important thing was that I was a terrible person who committed a grave sin. It’s awfully reminiscent of poor parenting tactics.

Now, a desire for mutual respect and doing away with the toxic components of hierarchies is wonderful, but I can already hear the boomers complaining. “Kids these days have no respect.” “Prideful little know-it-alls.” I hear you. It’s true that younger folk tend to think of themselves rather highly and take respect much more often than they dish it out. But remember that key word: mutual. I’m not proposing we go easy on everyone. I’m proposing we get rid of the idiotic idea that people who are young in years or lower in a hierarchy aren’t worth listening to or treating as fellow human beings. We should still give them a fighting chance to prove themselves. I think you’d see a lot more happy, successful, valuable workers coming out of my generation if you expected greatness from them and pushed them to be better. People tend to rise to exactly the expectations you set for them. It’s a self-fulfilling prophesy.

Flexibility

One important part of work is the time you spend away from it. I think a major difference between older generations and my own is how we think of work as it relates to our “real” lives. And that’s just it. I think of my real life as separate from my work life. Many people believe they are one in the same. Workaholics tend to focus entirely on their vocation and neglect family, friends, and God alike as they pour their lives into climbing the ladder. Many very successful and rich people are addicted to work in this way, but few of them are truly happy. My generation grew up seeing this firsthand. Lots of our parents came out of a world that told them to “man up” and “get their act together.” They listened. They pulled up their bootstraps and got to work. And boy, did they work. Some of them worked so hard, and still are to this day, that their bodies are just about to give out. Some were away from their families most of the time. Some sacrificed their hobbies and their aspirations. Part of this is noble and honorable. Part of it is unhealthy at best and tragic at worst.

The difference between healthy work and unhealthy work is often murky. Of course, there are obvious situations like the ones I brought up where a person prioritizes work above everything else. That’s never good. But what about a dad who gives up his desires for fame and fortune so he can make sure his wife and kids always have food on the table? That’s a great thing to see. The difficulty comes between these, where a father might be away working for months at a time. Is his lack of presence in his family’s life worth the paycheck? Should he pursue a career where he can see his kids more often? Is it too risky and irresponsible to attempt that? What about the single mother who pays to have her kids taken care of while she’s away working a high-paying job? Is that a healthy relationship with work? A lot of these situations come down to judgment calls and individual circumstances. Life is hard. A healthy approach to work that fits your lifestyle is too often forgotten in the midst of survival or immediate desire.

So where does my generation come into all this? Well, we’re sick and tired of jobs being purely about survival. We’ve seen our parents work themselves nearly to death for companies that don’t care for their wellbeing one bit. We’ve seen our peers get sucked into work culture and come out shells of their former selves. We don’t want any part of it. We want work to be a place where we do a good job, get a fair paycheck, and go home. We want to be there as infrequently as possible, in some cases. Whether that’s out of a desire to spend more time nurturing a family, promoting a good cause, or feeding a selfish addiction depends on the person, of course.

Where older generations looked down on people who weren’t as invested in their jobs, my generation looks up at those who are able to hold their job at arm’s length and still keep up with house payments. We want a balance where we feel that we’re able to live life as it ought to be, away from the cubicle and the email inbox. This manifests itself in many ways. One of those is a demand for more PTO and holidays. Another is a mutual understanding with one’s boss that personal matters come before work. Another is the ability to do things like take breaks, get haircuts, or pick up kids on company time, sometimes because there is no other time to do those things. Employers who recognize the demand for this approach to work will attract my generation. Those who do not are in for a hard time finding people to be their “wage slaves,” as the anti-work movement so tactfully puts it.

The Growing Problem of Tempered Laziness

Before we go, I think it’s important to address the elephant in the room. It’s more impactful than you might think. Generation Z has been called “lazy” more times than I could count. In some ways, it’s true. In others, it’s exaggerated. But one thing I’ve noticed in the anti-work community is a defeatist mentality that has begun to accept laziness as a tactic of work rather than a fault of character. Instead of working exceptionally hard in order to get a raise, feel satisfied, or serve those in need, people are intentionally minimizing their productivity in an effort to reduce stress and silently protest against their conditions. At a time when we’re seeing more and more work done in huge office buildings under massive companies, it’s become easier than ever to hide this laziness among all the bureaucracy and wasted management dollars. After all, if you’ll walk away with the same paycheck no matter what, why work any harder than you have to? At least, that’s how they see it.

This is why I’m convinced we’re on the verge of an upheaval in work productivity. Eventually, the labor bubble will burst. Companies cannot hire more and more people who do the bare minimum indefinitely. They can’t squeeze their margins so slim and pack their wallets so tight forever. The lack of productivity will catch up with them. When it does, they’ll realize there’s just not enough money to pay for enough people to get a job done when each one of them contributes less and less. Wages will plummet or there will be massive layoffs. Hard workers will be seen as extremely valuable and rewarded accordingly. There’s no other way to make sure cash flow doesn’t stop. You need real labor. It’s not a viable strategy to put up with chair warmers, at least not in the long term.

This is going to hurt badly, both for the kids who have gotten used to browsing Twitter eight hours a day and the managers who refuse to recognize something’s wrong. We’re going to see the end of businesses with horrible reputations thanks to slow, expensive work done by far too many cooks in the kitchen. We’re going to see a sharp contrast between those in my generation who refuse to work harder and those who realize they must work harder in order to stay on top. People are going to fervently lean into their side of the issue. You’ll see the “lazy” kids pushing harder than ever for free healthcare, universal basic income, and a higher minimum wage. You’ll see the “hardworking” kids embracing a new era of workaholism and ladder climbing, looking down on anyone below them with disdain. It’s going to get worse before it gets better.

Conclusion

When the time comes for a major shift in the job market, we’ll have to figure it out as it unfolds. But I’m letting you know in advance that my generation sees work in a fundamentally different way then those who came before us, and it’s not all to do with youthful daydreams. The new anti-work movement reflects this, albeit in an immature manner. We deserve a good licking from time to time, no doubt, but we might also have something valuable to add to society. This world will be ours soon enough, for better or for worse.

To be honest, I’m not sure what I’ll write for next week. I think I’m done talking about the anti-work movement, at least for now. It’s been loads of fun, but there’s other things I want to discuss. Enter your email below if you want to be notified when my next post goes live. Thanks for reading. It means a lot. Godspeed.

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The Fall of Anti-Work

For the last few weeks, I’ve been covering the many ideas and problems of the anti-work movement. There’s a lot to cover and it’s been fun breaking it all down. But I could never have predicted that in the middle of my series, the movement itself would break apart in a spetacular display of poetic irony. Today, we’re retelling the disaster of January 25th, 2022.

Earlier this week, an interview was released between Fox News host, Jesse Watters, and anti-work Reddit moderator, Doreen Ford. You can watch it on YouTube here. I think it speaks for itself, but I’ll describe it for those who prefer to read. Watters asks some of the most basic questions one might come up with regarding the anti-work movement. In addition, he probes for a few personal details. What results is utter hilarity.

Doreen appears via a garbled mess of pixels from a cheap webcam. He looks like he hasn’t showered in days. In the background, we see a messy room and an unmade bed. Throughout the interview, Doreen fidgets and seems determined not to make eye contact. The visuals alone are enough to conclude that this individual is a perfect representation of the lazy leftist stereotype. At first, Doreen makes an attempt to explain that the movement isn’t necessarily about removing work, but about allowing people more freedom, flexibility, and respect in their chosen vocations. But he goes off the rails quite fast when Watters asks about laziness.

“Laziness is a virtue in a society where people constantly want you to be productive 24/7”

Doreen Ford, Reddit Moderator

It only gets worse. As it turns out, Doreen is 30 years old and works 20 hours a week as a dog walker. Oh, and he would like to work less than that! When asked about future endeavors, Doreen said he wouldn’t mind working as a dog walker the rest of his life, but might also be interested in teaching philosophy and critical thinking. As you might expect, Watters uses this to his advantage, nearly bursting from laughter at a few points, ending the interview by saying, “Thank you so much. We gotta run. We gotta pay the bills.”

And that’s all it took to bring a movement to its knees. Within the hour, the entire anti-work subreddit (think of it as an online forum) was up in arms. Why was Doreen the one representing the movement? Who approved of letting someone so incompetent on TV, let alone to speak for the 1.7 million members of the community? Who was this awful person who had tanked their credibility for the foreseeable future? They wanted answers.

The War

As soon as the dissension began, the moderator team took action. Whether it originated from Doreen, other mods, or a mix of both, they decided to remove all posts and comments about the Fox News interview, especially critical opinions. The community noticed this and rebelled instantly. What started as outrage for a botched interview evolved into outrage over censorship in the name of damage control. Moderators claimed they were dealing with a “brigade,” meaning cruel comments from people who were not members of the community coming to laugh at them. But in reality, a huge number of long-time anti-work members were banned. It was painfully ironic that the people who believed in freedom from oppressive employers were so eager to silence reasonable criticism from their own community.

In response to this, the moderators closed the subreddit by temporarily making it private. But the damage was done. People knew what had happened and trying to cover it up only made it worse. Someone started a new subreddit called Work Reform. Hundreds of threads all across the website were popping up talking about the dumpster fire that had taken place. The anti-work subreddit was opened again within a day or two, but even more moderator shenanigans were now unfolding behind the scenes.

Doreen was busy. Soon after the interview received backlash, he went to work defending himself and banning people in the process. Needless to say, he didn’t take the criticism well. Eventually, he decided it was a lost cause and deleted everything about the incident from his account’s history. After a post from his own Facebook was uncovered that confessed to what could only be described as sexual assault, his reign was over and he was removed from the subreddit. But Doreen wasn’t going lightly. Another account was created and in only a few hours, it was promoted to moderator and began banning people. The community noticed immediately. After this account received scrutiny, it was deleted and yet another account took up the mantel, defending Doreen at every turn. Even more accounts have surfaced since then. The community was convinced at this point that Doreen was the one making these accounts.

In addition to this, it was revealed that several other moderators had connections with Doreen or problems of their own. One was his roommate. Another had a record of interest in pedophilia, incest, and beastiality. Another was in a relationship with Doreen. This particular mod, looking to calm the masses, also posted a statement on the subreddit sharing, among other things, that he was 21 years old, “long-term unemployed,” and a radical anarchist. Oh, he also already completed several other interviews with media outlets! Everything that could possibly have further eroded any shred of trust left between the moderators and the community was coming to pass. It was looking like the end of anti-work, and for good reason.

The Aftermath

As the insanity started to slow, many moderators were replaced or removed, including the ones I’ve mentioned. New mods were put in place who clearly had more experience not saying things that made them look like complete and utter fools. The front page is void of complaints for the most part. The new and improved statement addressing the recent catastrophe has been received fairly positively. As of now, it looks like the community is on a slow road to recovery.

What cannot be ignored, however, is that this was a huge turning point. The entire community was split several times over into different camps and new subreddits. The embarrassment anti-work now has to deal with is unparalleled. They had a caricature of their cause show the whole world that they are just as disgusting and childish as onlookers might suspect. They learned there were ignorant kids and sexual deviants leading their group. It’s impressive how easily it all came tumbling down. I think it speaks to the kind of people who are attracted not only to the idea of not working, but the power that comes from running an internet space. That they love it enough to do it for free should tell you all you need to know.

By now you’re probably as sick of reading about this little piece of internet history as I am of writing it. I can only take so much degeneracy at once. That said, we’ll likely be continuing this series next week, where we return to a philosophical look at why this strange movement emerged in the first place and what it has become. There’s more to all this than unwashed communists, despite what you’ve seen. Enter your email below if you want to be notified when that goes live. Thanks for reading. Godspeed.

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Sources:
https://www.reddit.com/r/SubredditDrama/comments/sdesxw/megathread_rantiwork_goes_private_after_fox_news/
https://www.reddit.com/r/SubredditDrama/comments/sdz6oy/megathread_part_2_rantiwork_reopens_rworkreform/
https://www.reddit.com/r/SubredditDrama/comments/sez90m/megathread_part_3_abolishwork_fox_news_fallout/

Could automation and wealth redistribution replace the 40-hour work week?

No. The answer is no. Let’s talk about that.

Last week, we discussed inflation and productivity in the workplace. Click here to read that post. Today, we’re continuing a series on the anti-work movement by talking about automation and wealth redistribution.

Automation

Something I’ve seen pop up time and time again in the anti-work community is the idea that automation is reducing the number of jobs, and that we might be able to automate pretty much everything at some point. This would free up a lot of people who were previously needed in the workforce, potentially leading to a society where people don’t have to work at all if they don’t want to. As you can probably tell, this train of logic is about as solid as paper mache. Let’s break it down.

The first point to tackle is automation. There are thousands of examples to draw on, but one that comes to mind is the lamplighter. We no longer need someone to go around town and light the lamps at the appropriate time each day. We now have an electrical grid that powers lights throughout our cities automatically. Does this mean we’ve eliminated the need for labor? You might say yes, at first. When the lights turn on, everything works and nobody needs to do anything, right? Wrong. Electric lights are machines. They break down and need repairing sometimes. They need power from a source in order to function. How is this done? With repairmen, electricians, and city leaders using taxpayer money to ensure local power plants are operational and feeding power to all the lamps at the right times. There are thousands of hardworking humans behind all of that infrastructure. By automating street lights, we haven’t removed labor at all. We’ve only shifted it into a more manageable and convenient form.

The Math Doesn’t Add Up

This brings to mind the first law of thermodynamics, which teaches us that energy cannot be created or destroyed. Much like energy, labor cannot be removed from a functional society, at least not without consequences. To remove labor removes the results of that labor. To replace the labor of a lamplighter with a fraction of labor across hundreds of engineers, maintenance workers, and politicians is not the same as removing it.

Therefore, the best automation can do is help us be more efficient with our labor. The industrial revolution has played a huge part in this. Instead of planting seed by hand, we use machines to do it very rapidly, for example. But this does not point to a future where our labor will be so efficient that it will disappear altogether. If anything, it reveals that our nation has grown rich and prosperous as a result of capitalism. After all, it takes many hours of difficult labor to create the machines that assemble the farm equipment that we use to plant seed. It also takes a lot of labor and valuable resources to fuel and maintain these machines. How on earth do we manage to pay for all of it? With our immense wealth, of course.

The Riches of Capitalism

One thing capitalism does very well is reward ingenuity with cold hard cash. Regardless of your opinion on trickle-down economics, the reality is that capitalism does lead to more prosperous nations overall. But that’s a topic for another post. My point is that the road to automation is paved with the gold of businessmen. Yet these are precisely the people the anti-work community wants to steal from in order to fund their utopia. They’re obsessed with revolting against the evil bourgeoisie and letting the government take care of everyone “equally” using their wealth. But is that feasible?

Surely, we don’t need the rich hoarding all their money away from us. If only we could take it from them and give it to the masses. We could live for a while on that, right? Well, that’s what the anti-work community seems to think. Let’s take a look at the numbers. Right now, the combined net worth of all American billionaires is about $5 trillion as of October 18, 2021.1 If we liquidate and divide this money equally among every U.S. household (roughly 128 million), how much would each household receive? The answer is just under $40k, assuming it’s tax-free. This allows all of America to live modestly for a year or so. After that, the money is gone. And remember, we liquidated the net worth of all our billionaires to get that money. This means all companies, products, jobs, investments, and innovations they’re responsible for are gone. In the act of giving everyone a year off work, we would cripple our economy. It’s not realistic, feasible, or ethical on any level.

Conclusion

The anti-work community seems intent on taking full advantage of the automation afforded to them by capitalism while rejecting the system entirely and feeding all wealth into a common pool for everyone. They believe that this will lead to a society where wealth is distributed equally, everyone can have a modest standard of living, and the vast majority of jobs are automated by machines and robots. They think the future is sipping tea on their porch playing board games with their buddies, writing blog posts in the evenings, and sucking the government teat to pay their bills and buy groceries delivered by self-driving cars.

The reality is that wealth redistribution doesn’t work long-term, automation doesn’t eliminate the need for labor, and removing all incentive to work or create value for society will, as a matter of fact, reduce the jobs being done and the value being created in our society, leading to our standard of living plummeting into the far reaches of the earth.

Next week, we’ll be taking a step back and looking at what the real underlying reason might be for the anti-work movement’s recent popularity. Enter your email below if you want to be notified when that goes live. Thanks for reading. Godspeed.

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  1. Chuck Collins, “Updates: Billionaire Wealth, U.S. Job Losses and Pandemic Profiteers,” Inequality.org, Institute for Policy Studies, October 18, 2021, https://inequality.org/great-divide/updates-billionaire-pandemic/.

Why inflation shouldn’t stop you from being a good steward for Christ

Last week, we talked about the power of the free market and why the anti-work community misses the point when it comes to fighting exploitation. Click here to read that post. Today, we’re continuing the series by looking at another of their most common arguments. They say inflation has caused the buying power of the U.S. dollar to plummet and wages haven’t risen enough to compensate. This means that many jobs no longer provide a “livable wage” for Americans. But is this true?

Inflation

Especially this year, Americans are feeling the effects of inflation and how easily it can get away from us. What happens when the price of milk and bread goes up, but you don’t get a raise? Your money, and in turn your job, are worth less and less. It can feel hopeless. But is that really what’s happening?

I decided to look into this for myself. Here’s what I found. The typical wage for a bank teller in 1944 was around $1.00 per hour or $160.00 per month.1 Adjusting for inflation, how much should that job be worth today? The buying power of $1.00 in 1944 is roughly equivalent to $15.79 in 2021.2 How much do bank tellers actually get paid right now? My wife worked as one up until this year. Her wages started around $15 per hour in her first month. By the time she switched jobs, she was making $16.70 per hour.

Now, I’m no economist. I’m sure there are examples of jobs with wages that don’t match what they were 70 years ago. But on the whole, inflation is not a sufficient explanation for your financial struggles. Don’t get me wrong, I do believe inflation is a problem. It’s a big problem, actually. But it’s not an excuse, or at least not a good one in this case. Your job probably pays you a fair wage. But just in case, you can always compare what you make to the average for your profession. There are plenty of websites out there to help you do this. Stop complaining on the internet if you want to see real change in your life. If you feel like you deserve a raise, ask for it. If you want a new job, go out and interview for it. We’ll talk more about this mentality in a minute. But first, we slay another pitiful dragon.

What About Productivity?

Another common argument in the anti-work community is that productivity has increased substantially more than compensation has in the last few decades. This would imply that workers deserve higher wages because they’re more efficient nowadays, which is separate from the effects of inflation. But this raises an important question. What is “productivity?”

Well, as it turns out, the most commonly cited analysis on this issue, done by the Economic Policy Institute, defines for us what is meant by productivity. It says, “Productivity measures how much total economywide income is generated (i.e., for workers, business owners, landlords, and everybody else together) in an average hour of work.”3 This means we are not measuring efficiency of labor to produce product, number of tasks completed per hour, quality of service, or any other metric we might commonly think of when presented with the idea of being productive at our jobs. No, instead, the analysis is specifically talking about total income per hour across the board. I’m sure you can see how the term “productivity” might easily be misinterpreted by morons on the internet. Now that we have that clear, let’s take a look at the graph everyone loves to talk about.

At face value, this graph seems to show that total income per hour (productivity) has climbed steadily, while the typical worker’s compensation has stagnated. I’ve explained the first variable. Now we ought to look at the second variable, which is defined as “the average compensation (wages and benefits) of production and nonsupervisory workers.”4 By EPI’s own admission, this only accounts for the lowest paid 80% of the U.S. workforce. Already, we’re comparing apples to oranges. We’re not discussing the average worker. We’re discussing the average worker in the bottom 80%. It’s common knowledge that supervisory positions are paid significantly more than lower positions. That’s just how the job market works. It’s valuable to be able to manage teams efficiently. Removing these workers from the equation skews the results quite a bit, all in the name of representing “the common man.”

And that right there is the problem. This graph is frequently presented as representing how unfair the system is, such that more productive workers are not rewarded with higher wages as they should be. It’s designed to make the reader bolt upright and exclaim, “How dare they!” But it’s a lie. It’s not showing an increase in the work ethic of individual employees. It’s showing an increase in income throughout our economy. It’s not showing a stagnating wage for your average American. It’s showing that compensation is shifting in favor of supervisory positions. Unfortunately for EPI, honest data gets you a very boring graph rather than one that’s useful for pushing an agenda.

Another significant problem with this graph is that productivity is calculated using NDP (Net Domestic Product) while compensation is calculated using CPI (Consumer Price Index).5 In short, this is another case of comparing apples to oranges, a deliberate attempt to widen the gap artificially. Scott Sumner, an economics professor, says it better than I can. Read his article on the topic here.

“This is a pay/productivity gap being invented by using the slowly moving price index (NDP, which is similar to the PCE) to make worker productivity look better, and the faster moving price index (CPI) to make real wages look lower. That’s not kosher. You need to use the same type of index for both lines on the graph.”6

As far as I’m concerned, this is the final nail in the coffin. The argument that we’re all working harder than ever for less than ever is flat out wrong and needs to die. The anti-work community would do well to stop perpetuating it if they want to be taken seriously. Journalists should do better research before highlighting this rubbish as often as they have. Thankfully, there are some out there who have set the record straight.

One thing the data is clear on is that income inequality is growing. But this isn’t anything new. It tends to happen in all economies, not just capitalist ones. But this is a completely different topic for another day. For now, I’ll leave it at that.

What Then Shall We Do?

I’ve barely scratched the surface of the conversation surrounding income, inflation, and value of labor. How all these factors truly affect people is difficult to determine, even for experts. I don’t claim to understand it completely, but my research has convinced me that, if nothing else, inflation and the so-called “productivity gap” are poor excuses for financial woes in modern America. Stop using them as a scapegoat and take responsibility for the resources and time you’ve been given.

“Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce; then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine.”

Proverbs 3:9-10 (ESV)

Your decisions in spending habits, assertiveness at work, and standard of living are infinitely more impactful than any campaign in the streets to raise the minimum wage to outrageous levels. The harsh reality is that our economy adjusts for inflation out of necessity. As money decreases in value, the price for labor, goods, and services rises. That’s just how the market works. Could we fix things someday? Who knows? For now, focus on using what you have to honor the Lord as best you can. Be a wise steward. Remember the parable of the talents.

“And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me five talents; here, I have made five talents more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.'”

Matthew 25:20-21 (ESV)

Trust me, you don’t want to find yourself, a privileged American, before the almighty God shuffling your feet, admitting you failed to use your resources for the kingdom because inflation was scary. What a sorry excuse for a servant of the Most High.

“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.”

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (ESV)

Whether it’s your time, money, or effort, it’s not your own. It belongs to the one who purchased you on the cross. Spend your time studying the Word, supporting your church, and reaching out to those who are lost. Use your skills and labor likewise, spreading the truth and helping those around you. Finally, be generous with the money God gives you, knowing you are building up for yourself treasure in heaven, where inflation does not erode value and the government does not tax.

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Matthew 6:19-21 (ESV)

Next week, we’ll continue our discussion of the anti-work movement. Enter your email if you want to be notified when the next post goes live. Thanks for reading. Godspeed.

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  1. The Regional War Labor Boards, Manuel of Going Wage Rates (Washington, D.C.: The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc., 1944), 175.
  2. “$1 in 1944 → 2021,” Inflation Calculator, Official Inflation Data, Alioth Finance. Accessed December 14th, 2021. https://www.officialdata.org/us/inflation/1944?amount=1.
  3. “The Productivity–Pay Gap,” Economic Policy Institute. Accessed December 26, 2021. https://www.epi.org/productivity-pay-gap/.
  4. Ibid.
  5. Josh Bivens and Lawrence Mishel, “Understanding the Historic Divergence Between Productivity and a Typical Worker’s Pay,” Economic Policy Institute, September 2, 2015. https://www.epi.org/publication/understanding-the-historic-divergence-between-productivity-and-a-typical-workers-pay-why-it-matters-and-why-its-real/
  6. Scott Sumner, “Pay/productivity gap graphs are nonsense,” TheMoneyIllusion, September 11th, 2015. https://www.themoneyillusion.com/payproductivity-gap-graphs-are-nonsense/

What can you do when your employer exploits you?

Last week, we talked about the emerging anti-work movement and why it contradicts both common sense and the Bible. Click here to read that post. Today, we’re continuing the series by tackling one of their most significant grievances: corporate exploitation.

Human Decency

The entire point of a business is to make money. Nobody wants to work for free (least of all the anti-work folks). This applies to business owners as much as it does to employees. But when greed or a hopelessly large infrastructure comes into play, individual humans are easily forgotten. It’s no secret that large companies tend to lose sight of their lower level employees on the path to success. The focus on cash flow seems to increase as a business grows, while the focus on quality service to customers and fair treatment of workers seems to fade. What you end up with is a lot of very successful corporations pinching pennies and squeezing every last drop out of their workforce to ensure they never fall behind the competition.

I sympathize greatly with those who have suffered under abusive bosses, bad work conditions, or exploitative companies. More and more stories are coming to the surface about these problems, and I’m glad the word is getting out. If companies treat their employees in a manner that isn’t in accordance with the law, the government should put a stop to it. But you shouldn’t count on the government to fix everything. They’re pretty bad at it, actually. Instead, you should let these companies know where you stand by using the buying power of your wallet and your time. You see, I’m a supporter of the free market, and despite what you’ll hear from anti-work folks, it’s key to a balanced economy where worker rights are taken seriously.

The Power Dynamic

The free market works by allowing choice. I get to choose to work for myself or someone else. Business owners get to choose who to hire and how to treat them. The beauty of this is that plenty of problems solve themselves. The uncomfortable part is that this can cause some swings in the economy.

Let’s take a look at the recent Kellogg’s situation. About 1,400 workers went on strike while their union negotiated with the company. A deal was not reached, so Kellogg’s stated they would plan to hire replacements for workers who went on strike. This created enormous backlash in the public, resulting in people spamming their hiring website with fake applications and eventually crashing it.1 The governor of Nebraska and President Biden spoke out against Kellogg’s actions and encouraged further negotiations.2 On the anti-work subreddit, people called for a boycott of Kellogg’s. One user found these stickers on cereal they had delivered to their home.

Kellogg’s workers were fed up, but not enough to quit.

Eventually, Kellogg’s agreed to resume negotiations and a deal was reached that provided better wages and benefits to employees.3 This is the free market at work. When someone doesn’t like what they are paid, they can leave their job. If enough people threaten to leave, they can use that leverage to demand higher wages. If negotiations fail, they can spread the word about how bad it is to work at Kellogg’s. If that message gets out and enough people refuse to work for them or buy their products, Kellogg’s is forced to raise wages or suffer huge financial losses.

This is all well and good. Most people cheer for the common man and his struggle against the rich jerks exploiting him. But the truth is that the free market works both ways, and that’s a good thing. When people are willing to work for a lower wage, Kellogg’s can offer a lower wage. When people want to work for them, Kellogg’s has the power to negotiate in their own favor when dealing with unions. When Kellogg’s doesn’t feel like a deal is worth it, they can refuse and simply hire more workers. When their current workers are angrily slapping stickers on cereal boxes, but still showing up to work for a low wage, Kellogg’s can ignore them.

Why is this a good thing? Because it’s what allows people to become so successful in America while simultaneously keeping them in check, to an extent. Insofar as people are paying attention, they have a lot of influence over the market. The power dynamic between employers and employees is not intrinsically unfair. Now, I understand frustration with government subsidies and loans to businesses, among other things that mess with the market. They prop things up artificially and it’s not healthy in the long term. If a company is failing or a product is rising in price, I say let it happen. That’s how the market is supposed to work.

Misguided Authoritarianism

At the end of the day, I have no problem with the anti-work movement encouraging people to negotiate for higher pay, leave exploitative jobs, or boycott shady businesses. I think it’s important for everyone to be aware of the power they have in the market and to wield it appropriately. My concern is that, for a large portion of them, this isn’t enough. They want the government to raise the minimum wage to an absurd level (which is another example of artificially propping up the economy). They encourage each other to lie to their employers. Strangest of all, they are somehow convinced that the very system giving them power is the cause of all their problems.

Ah yes, capitalism is to blame for my poor choices.

This is a meme from the anti-work subreddit. It’s one of the most foolish and backwards arguments you’ll find there. A movement taking full advantage of the free market wants nothing more than to tear it down. They’ve fallen head over heels for the communist fantasy of the lower class rising up and overthrowing capitalism so they can curb stomp all the evil CEOs. They don’t just want fair wages, they want free money. They don’t just dislike rich people, they want to violently steal from them. They don’t just want better benefits, they want to be free from obligations they agreed to.

But we’ll get to all this in future posts. For now, we ought to keep in mind just how significant our role is in a capitalist society where trade is king. We have the power to demand better jobs through unions and boycotts. We have the power to alter entire industries by spending our time and money elsewhere. We ultimately have the power to influence the direction of our country’s economy. And as Uncle Ben once said, with great power comes great responsibility.

Next week, we’ll talk about why inflation isn’t as big of a problem as you might think (yes, really). Enter your email below if you want to be notified when that goes live. Thanks for reading. Godspeed.

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  1. Jonathan Franklin, “Redditors are spamming Kellogg’s job portal in solidarity with its striking workers,” NPR, December 10th, 2021, https://www.npr.org/2021/12/10/1063112624/redditors-spam-kelloggs-job-portal-striking-workers-union (accessed December 16th, 2021).
  2. Corinne Moore, “Kellogg’s facing political pressure to resume contract talks,” Wood TV, December 14th, 2021, https://www.woodtv.com/news/national/kelloggs-facing-political-pressure-to-resume-contract-talks/, (accessed December 16th, 2021).
  3. Scott Neuman, “Kellogg’s union members ratify a new contract, ending a nearly 3-month strike,” NPR, December 21st, 2021, https://www.npr.org/2021/12/21/1066326419/kelloggs-union-members-ratify-a-new-contract-ending-a-nearly-3-month-strike, (accessed December 21st, 2021)

The Anti-Work Movement is Anti-Biblical

If you’re active on the internet these days, you’ve probably heard of a new group of like-minded individuals developing in various corners of the web. They call themselves “anti-work” and they believe that regular, everyday jobs in today’s America are a raw deal. Their opinions cover a wide spectrum, but it’s common to see takes like “work should be optional,” “eat the rich,” and “hunter-gatherers had more free time than we do.” If you have even a modicum of intelligence, I’m sure you can already see the problem. Over the next few posts I’ll be taking a deep dive into this strange mentality and all its colorful flaws. We’ll eventually get to the economic and philosophical arguments, but let’s begin by looking at the concept of work itself.

Work is Necessary

The first fruit I’ll pick is, admittedly, low-hanging. Work is necessary for any society to function. You can’t have food, water, shelter, or life without some effort. It takes work to farm. It takes work to build. It takes work to keep each other alive. On a very basic level, work isn’t optional and it never will be. John Smith of Jamestown, Virginia understood this. “If you don’t work, you don’t eat.” Heck, even Lenin said it, of all people. But don’t take their word for it. This phrase has its origins in the Bible.

“Now we command you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from any brother who is walking in idleness and not in accord with the tradition that you received from us. For you yourselves know how you ought to imitate us, because we were not idle when we were with you, nor did we eat anyone’s bread without paying for it, but with toil and labor we worked night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you. It was not because we do not have that right, but to give you in ourselves an example to imitate. For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat. For we hear that some among you walk in idleness, not busy at work, but busybodies. Now such persons we command and encourage in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work quietly and to earn their own living.”

2 Thessalonians 3:6-12 (ESV)

The apostle Paul tells us clearly that we are all to earn our own living through work. Idleness is unacceptable. But what does Paul mean when he says he has the right to receive the church’s resources? He means that the church has an obligation to take care of fellow Christians and those who have dedicated their lives to preaching the Word of God. This is why modern churches pay their pastors. Nevertheless, Paul says the reason he did not act on this right was to lead by example in working hard.

Purpose in Work

Now that we understand the necessity of work and can see that the Bible commands us to work rather than rely on others, the next thought we might have is that we don’t really want to work. Perhaps we’ll do it because we have to, but we’ll be sure to do it begrudgingly. After all, it’s just a paycheck. What’s the point of doing anything but the bare minimum? If it’s unfulfilling and drains our time and energy, is it really worth investing more? What is the purpose of work? Well, there are a few practical reasons we can find in the Bible.

“In all toil there is profit, but mere talk tends only to poverty.”

Proverbs 14:23 (ESV)

This one is pretty obvious. Work produces profit. You reap what you sow. Mere talk is worthless without action and productivity behind it. We ought to be careful when we talk about our lofty ambitions that we don’t let our tongues outrun our feet. Sometimes the right decision is to shut up and get to work.

“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.”

Ephesians 4:28 (ESV)

Another reason to work is to produce wealth and resources to share with those who need them. We are called as Christians to be generous and loving, especially to our fellow brothers and sisters in the church. It’s hard to be generous and care for others when we’re barely able to care for ourselves. However, this is not to say that giving less is worth less. Our attitude towards giving is what matters. We should give in accordance with our ability. Jesus makes this clear when he speaks so highly of the poor widow who gave only two coins to the temple (Mark 12:41-44). Keeping that in mind, it becomes apparent that most of us living in America are filthy rich and could stand to give a lot more than we do. We should not invest too much in our earthly futures, but our heavenly ones.

“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.”

Colossians 3:23-24 (ESV)

Paul tells us in Colossians that we are to work as if the Lord himself is our overseer. As Christians, we are not looking forward to our retirement on the beaches of Florida. We are looking forward to our eternal life with God after death. We are his creation and we are loved. It should be our utmost pleasure to serve and worship him. Part of this is obeying his command to work heartily and use the hands he gave us to create something meaningful with our short lives on this earth.

“Do not labor for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on him God the Father has set his seal.”

John 6:27 (ESV)

Aside from obedience and joy, it should be clear that it is in our own interest to work for that which will last after this earth is long gone. That means looking for ways to further God’s kingdom now while we still have time. Work is not just a good thing, it’s a necessary thing. But it’s critical we do the right kind of work. Laboring for that which perishes isn’t much better than doing nothing in the first place. It’s when we labor for that which endures that we will find not only practical benefits, but spiritual ones as well.

Conclusion

For the Christian, work is an act of worship. For everyone else, work is still extremely important. You can’t survive, much less progress towards improvement or profit, without working hard. The anti-work movement fails on both fronts. It places “self” in the seat of power, demanding to be fed and entertained for nothing in return. It blames others for matters of personal responsibility. Worst of all, it defies the almighty God and the purpose he has given us to work in his name.

Next week, we’ll take a look at how corporations take advantage of their employees and how employees can fight back with more power than they know. Enter your email below if you want to be notified when that goes live. Thanks for reading. Godspeed.

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