I Love Cubicles by Tim Patterson under Creative Commons licenseAlthough we live in a society where people increasingly feel they are entitled to get handouts from the government and steal from the rich (if they’re socialists) and take advantage of the less wealthy (if they’re crony capitalists) to improve their economic status, those ways of thinking are not in line with what God intended and are based on greed. Capitalism, in general, is good. Opposing it or rigging it for others’ harm in covetousness is not. Yes, both the socialist and the rich crony capitalist are greedy and envious. They are cut from the same cloth although they appear to oppose each other. We should not aspire to be either one. Solomon in his godly wisdom gave us the correct view of how we should look at working.

Having a job to earn a wage is an honorable thing. In fact it’s so honorable that Solomon taught we should see labor and the fruits of our labors as a gift from God–

There is nothing better for a man, than that he should eat and drink, and that he should make his soul enjoy good in his labour. This also I saw, that it was from the hand of God. Eccl. 2:24

I know that there is no good in them, but for a man to rejoice, and to do good in his life. And also that every man should eat and drink, and enjoy the good of all his labour, it is the gift of God. Eccl. 3:12-13

Behold that which I have seen: it is good and comely for one to eat and to drink, and to enjoy the good of all his labour that he taketh under the sun all the days of his life, which God giveth him: for it is his portion. Every man also to whom God hath given riches and wealth, and hath given him power to eat thereof, and to take his portion, and to rejoice in his labour; this is the gift of God. Eccl. 5:18-19

This requires that we set aside envy of what others have (Heb. 13:5), which can be difficult for our human nature to do if we don’t stay in close fellowship with the Lord. When someone seeks to unjustifiably impede us from enjoying the good of our labors as the gift of God, they are not in line with God (see Eph. 4:28; James 5:1-6). It’s also a gift from God if we live in a society where we have the power to deal with that negative situation in a positive way, like finding a better workplace environment or dealing with an enemy in a court of law.

There are many ways of enjoying the good of our labors as the gift of God. One of the best ways is to willingly share (as opposed to being forced, pressured, or tricked) our goods with others just as Eph. 4:28 says. There’s no harm in using our goods for our own well-being or entertainment either, as expressed in Ecclesiastes above–as long as we don’t become excessive abusers of those goods (e.g. gluttons and drunkards (Prov. 23:21)). For all the hassles and inconveniences we think work thrusts on us, maybe we should try to focus more on the benefits we reap from it and praise God for them. It just might make things a little sweeter for us.