On Monday we celebrate Labor Day, the day we honor the working men and women of America. But unlike what the politicians say, mankind was made to work, it was never planned for large masses of people to be living in a permanent poverty cycle of welfare. No, every man and woman in America was designed to work, whether it be in the oil rigs, or as a mechanic, a lawyer, a doctor or a housewife, to keep ourselves and our loved ones fed, clothed and sheltered. It began in the Garden of Eden with Adam and Eve, put there by God with the task of tending it so that it would be productive for them, giving them the sustenance that they needed to support themselves and their two boys, Cain and Abel.
But something went awry when Adam and Eve failed to follow God's plan, for Adam and Eve instead used their free will to make a bad decision. Instead of following God's wishes, they were charmed by the Devil taking the form of a serpent and it turned the wonderful life God gave them into a living nightmare. God told them they had been given all the things they needed in the Garden of Eden, but they were not to eat the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge, but instead of listening to the Master, they chose to listen to the beguiling serpent who was merely Satan showing himself in a disguise. They ate of the forbidden fruit and sin was born. With their eyes now open to good and evil, they realized they were naked and were ashamed, covering their nakedness with leaves and hiding from God when He spoke. They actually thought they could hide from He who knows everything, past, present and future. And it was the first biblical example of how actions have consequences.
Well, in the end, they were banished from that heavenly garden and forced to labor hard each day to feed themselves. And, of course, the joy of having children was tempered by the pains of childbirth for God wanted them to understand fully what they had done. And they would suffer more as their sons would viciously fight over jealousy and Cain would slay Abel.
So, mankind, made to work from the original words of Genesis, now had to work under tougher conditions, making a garden out of rocky soil where it was once in the perfect condition and it would make life hard. But, at the same time, God gave each of us bodies capable of work and a mind to help us determine what we are best suited for and he expects us today, just like in days past, to work for our living. Yet, today we have so many programs to allow people to avoid work, and that means good and limited resources are being wasted on bad behavior. That's not good for our society, it's not good for our pocketbooks and it's not the way God intends man to behave.
Charity as a Christian concept was designed by God to help put people on their feet after suffering something serious that set them back. Maybe it is a young mother whose husband, the family breadwinner, is sick or died and the family needs help. Maybe it is a family that lived through a tumultuous hurricane or tornado and has lost everything. Or maybe it is a poor kid from the ghetto who doesn't know how he can prepare himself for life given the circumstances he lives with. But whatever these situations might be, of course a helping hand is in order, but it is not meant to be a permanent fix which over time creates laziness and lack of willingness to work. No, the handout is supposed to be a temporary measure, a hand up, for when people face the future and the realization that getting on their feet brings both dignity and honor to their life, they are much happier and self-satisfied as God intended. And if they also fill their heart with God, they are well on the way to a personal transformation that will be everlasting.
So, on this Labor Day weekend, we should all commit to trying to find answers to permanently ending the never ending dependency cycle of so many by asking God's guidance and help in changing things. He always listens and he wants us to find the answers, He just requires that we approach him first.
Dear Lord, On this Labor Day weekend we thank you for the many talents and gifts yo have given us to afford the opportunity for us to be productive through work. Help us to find solutions to the long term problems of dependency and instill in us your knowledge to help turn everyone into a productive and valuable addition to our land. Give us the knowledge, drive and energy to create a hand up philosophy where a handout approach has been used for so long. And bless those who will undertake this change for it will better them and all of us with your guidance and grace. In Jesus' name we pray, Amen.