The “give me” generation is bearing fruit at rapid pace. Indicators have been readily apparent for some time through various movements but in recent months the socialistic push has taken center stage in American news and culture. One result of this is a near demonization of work and ownership. On the one hand, we are sometimes led to believe that one who works hard and earns vast amounts of wealth is evil and should be forced to give it all away, and on the other hand it sometimes seems as if the suggestion that a person should work to earn a living for themselves instead of expecting it to be provided is appalling and should not even be considered. Believe it or not, the Bible addresses such things.
One passage to consider is 1 Thessalonians 4:9- 12. Paul encourages the brethren to increase and abound in brotherly love (vss. 9-10), then provides specific application (vss. 11-12). The command is to “aspire to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands” (1 Thess. 4:11). Literally, they were to make it their ambition to live in a way that was characterized by inner tranquility, stay out of the affairs of others, and work to provide a living for themselves and their families. Though God permits benevolence (e.g. 1 Tim. 5), it is wrong for a Christian to take advantage of it when he is perfectly capable of providing for his own. The reasons for the command are found in verse 12. First, “that you may walk properly toward those who are outside.” Second, “that you may lack nothing.” Being a drain on brethren who are working hard to support their own families is unloving and gives the church a black eye.
Though it may not be a popular motif in current discussion, God’s will is that we work to provide a living for ourselves and our families. Paul not only preached that message, he practiced it (1 Thess. 2:9), and we should as well. Christians should be known for their work ethic. We should be thankful for the ability to earn a living and put forth the best effort we can, with the best attitude we can, to provide for our own (cf. Eph. 6:5-8; Col. 3:23; etc.). Christians must never adopt a “give me attitude” but rather one that is hard working and generous (Eph. 4:28; 1 Tim. 6:17-19).