Thursday, June 12, 2008

Liberty Lessons From a Co-worker

I learned this morning that a co-worker of mine is answering emails for work from the hospital. He is answering emails right before he is ready to go into open heart surgery! This is the saddest commentary on what is wrong with our collective corporate life and what it does to a man, a child of God. He is doing this not because he is a shareholder, reaping great exponential profits from the company, but simply out of a misguided sense of loyalty to a company that pays him the minimum salary that the market will bear for his services. I'm sure there are more extreme stories of company serfdom, but this is the first time I've seen it up close. It is disgusting to think that we as human beings have been reduced to this. If he dies, the company will go on. His position will be filled by another. And the cycle of stress that led to heart trouble will continue because all companies serve the god of this world, the idol of money. We believe that the passionate pursuit of money is our highest calling. Even in the Christian community, many of our ministries have been co-opted by the idea of massive fund raising to support world-wide ministries where the leaders of those ministries live like royalty. And I'm only talking about the genuinely altruistic ones. The rest, similar to the Kenneth Copelands of the world, are brazen in their pride and pursuit of opulent wealth that they spend only on themselves. My brothers and sisters, it ought not be so.

We talk much of freedom and liberty in this country. But the truth is that we
are all slaves to an economic system that makes it very difficult for people to
be self-sufficient financially. I argue that true freedom starts with the internal freedom that comes from becoming a follower of Christ. But second and most importantly after our spiritual relationship, we must strive to be financially free. For some this means God blesses with relative wealth. For others, like the missionaries, it means they divest themselves of most worldly goods and make themselves available to God's specific work. What about those of us in the middle? Is there an answer? The Bible gives its answer in 1st Thessalonians:

To make it your ambition and definitely endeavor to live quietly and peacefully, to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we charged you, so that you may bear yourselves becomingly and be correct and honorable and command the respect of the outside world, being dependent on nobody [self-supporting] and having need of nothing. 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12 - Amplified version

11 that you also aspire to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you, 12 that you may walk properly toward those who are outside, and that you may lack nothing.
1 Thessalonians 4:11-13 (New King James Version)
New King James Version (NKJV)

I believe God will honor our efforts in any area that will lead to our financial freedom. It is honoring to His kingdom when we can say what we really believe without fear of losing our jobs.

We were not meant to be cogs in a corporate machine, but citizens of the kingdom of God. So sad for this guy. I hope and pray this will not be me and that no matter what the cost, I can get out from under the thumb of a corporate machine that only seeks to drain my human resources as ruthlessly as it does the Earth's natural resources. Make no mistake, we are to be in the world being salt and light, but we are not to be of the world. We compromise ourselves when we succumb to the world's system to meet our needs. Some people will be called to work in the Corporate system. But most of us have been brainwashed by a corrupt school system that teaches two erroneous concepts: A good job and Retirement.

Nowhere in the New Testament does God teach us to work towards getting a good job. It does teach us to work at whatever we find to do with all our heart, but those goals should be God centered and not self-centered. It teaches us to be content with whatever state we find ourselves in, but does not teach us to roll over and be a part of a corrupt system especially when we live in a society where it is within our power to remove ourselves from that system. We were not literally born into slavery in most of the Western world. We were born into free societies where it is in our power to learn to work for ourselves and small companies where the company is small enough to be accountable to those it employs through profit sharing.

No, the concept of a good job is a lie foisted upon us by Socialists in the late 1800's that believed that the best way to answer the problem of over-production was to produce a nation of consumers. Teach people to want more than they can use and then make those products of such low quality that they must be replaced and the never ending consumerist society was born. They taught us to want a good job so that we could buy crap we don't need to impress people who don't care. Who of us was ever taught to work for yourself through the public school system?

This leads to the other lie taught to us by our corporate run schools:
Retirement. When you are not self-sufficient, you must work and save money separately so that someday you can finally do what God placed in your heart to do. Society calls it Retirement: A narcissistic time when you can finally eat drink and be merry. It is focused on entertainment and a life of ease. This is not at all what Jesus has called us to. For those that still believe that many goods stored up for many years is the goal, I refer you to Jesus' parable of the Rich Fool in Luke 12:13 - 21. God calls us to live out what he has placed in our hearts today, not when our life has been spent in pursuit of the good life and our best years are behind us.

There is a Libertarian movement afoot that seeks to restore the Republic of the
United States to a very limited Federal government and many more free market benefits than we are enjoying today. I argue that no citizen can think of being free until he is first free from the financial bondage that public schools brainwash him or her into joining. There is a better way. Each human being must decide for themself that they will not be a slave to the corporate machine. They must find their own way in the free market to earn enough for their families to be self-sufficient. We must, all of us, seek to avoid the bondage that causes a man to be writing emails to his company hours before open heart surgery. We must be free.

1 comment:

  1. To make it your ambition and definitely endeavor to live quietly and peacefully, to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands...

    What a great reminder. Lots of stuff to think about and respond to in your post, but I kept coming back to that verse.

    "Make it your ambition." Because ambition as a motivating force isn't evil in and of itself.

    "Live quietly and peacefully." No need to stir up trouble. No need to draw unnecessary attention to yourself.

    "Mind your own affairs." Man. That's a tough one.

    "Work with your hands." Because work is good. From the original work of tending the garden to our current work of building the kingdom.


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