Biblical Economics Sunday School, Class 4

(Classes 2 and 3 are still forthcoming…) Landon Vick taught on a biblical view of work, vocation, and Sabbath rest this past Lord’s Day. These are some of my favorite topics. Landon looked at work through the helpful creation-fall-redemption grid. Genesis 1 and 2 tell us that we have been created to work (therefore work is not evil in and of itself, and retirement understood as doing nothing and living for yourself/your pleasure is wrong); Genesis 3 and the rest of the Bible tell us that work has been affected by the fall, but that we are still to work in order to eat, and that work is redeemed in Jesus Christ.

Here are some of what God has to say concerning work in the Proverbs:

Proverbs 12:11 “He who works his land will have abundant food, but he who chases fantasies lacks judgment.”

Proverbs 12:24 “Diligent hands will rule, but laziness ends in slave labor.”

Proverbs 14:23 “All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty.”

Proverbs 16:26 “The laborer’s appetite works for him; his hunger drives him on.”

Proverbs 18:9 “One who is slack in his work is brother to one who destroys.”

Proverbs 22:29 “Do you see a man skilled in his work? He will serve before kings; he will not serve before obscure men.”

Proverbs 27:18 “He who tends a fig tree will eat its fruit, and he who looks after his master will be honored.”

Proverbs 27:23 “Be sure you know the condition of your flocks, give careful attention to your herds; 24 for riches do not endure forever, and a crown is not secure for all generations. 25 When the hay is removed and new growth appears and the grass from the hills is gathered in, 26 the lambs will provide you with clothing, and the goats with the price of a field. 27 You will have plenty of goats’ milk to feed you and your family and to nourish your servant girls.”

Landon showed how work can be sanctifying, an opportunity for evangelism, preparation for heaven, a use of our God-given gifts (stewardship), and service to our fellow man. He also had some thought-provoking comments on the relationship of work to an economy: “Without work there is not an economy…  Productivity is a necessity in an economy, how well a nation, society, economy works determines the well being of that entire group of people. For centuries individuals and families did one primary job, they farmed.  Their work in life was to provide shelter and food, and little else.  This was done as early as they had the strength to use a rake or a hoe and lasted until their last days.  In recent centuries due to creativity, innovations, investments and the like, labor has been divided.  I’ve never successfully grown much of anything, and I’m healthier than billions of people before me.  I do one thing, I provide financial advice, that’s it, and I get paid for it.  I can’t eat the money, it won’t keep me warm, doesn’t keep me dry in the rain, but there are countless other people performing a vast variety of tasks that meet the needs of myself and society… In this environment Christians should shine.  We have the opportunity to work in unique and challenging settings that use those talents we mentioned earlier and work in service to a multitude of people.  Our society is interconnected and interdependent, and our work as Christians should be an encouragement to an outside world that believes their work is hopeless, that they work in vain and that there is no reason for their toil under the sun.”

Landon closed with a brief discussion of the Sabbath. He gave six reasons why we should rest on the Lord’s Day: 1) It was the example of God in Creation; 2) It is commanded by God; 3) We are finite creatures, we have to sleep and get hungry, tired and weary, a Sabbath is exactly what we need, God knows our frame; 4) A rested mind is an agile mind, one that can focus, create, innovate.  It is for our good that we worship, rest, and serve; 5) We were made to worship; 6) We are renewed on the Sabbath, this feeds our soul and prepares us to work and serve others. He commended to us the example of Truett Cathy, the owner of Chick-fil-a, who closes his stores on Sunday out of a commitment to the Sabbath command and principles. “Those who honor Me, I will honor” (I Sam. 2:30). Oh that more Christians would follow his example and give their employees a day of rest!

SDG,
Ezra and the Farmer

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