The Failing Work Ethic

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Homer
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The Failing Work Ethic

Post by Homer » Mon Nov 28, 2016 8:11 pm

How should Christians respond to need, loving our neighbor, where there is no work ethic?

The economist Robert Samuelson recently noted that 7 million men in the USA have dropped out of the work force. They do not have a job and are not looking for employment. They are 1 out of every 8 men in the prime working age, 25-54 years old. In the mid 60s the portion was 1 in 29. The low pay for low skill work is said to be one cause. To a great many working is not worth the effort. Some of the cause is said to be disability benefits. Of the 7 million, 2/3 are receiving disability or other government assistance. No doubt many take advantage of this. For example a former neighbor, in the subject age group, is on disability because of a bad back, yet he was trying to get me to take him out cutting firewood, which is hard work.

We have many immigrants who gladly do menial labor that most people will not do. Recently a 364 acre vineyard was planted next door to us. It was amazing to watch the crew of Mexican men work hard for long hours. Without them we will starve. When I was a teen in California I, and many of my friends, did the work immigrants now do. It was hard and dirty, but it was either work or do without. Experts say the situation we are in is both a social and moral crisis.

How do we balance "Give to anyone who asks of you" with "Let him who will not work not eat"? How will the situation we are in get turned around?

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Paidion
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Re: The Failing Work Ethic

Post by Paidion » Mon Nov 28, 2016 9:20 pm

There needs to be a more effective method screening of those applying for social programs. If proper screening were done, people such as your former neighbour would not receive the disability benefits for which they apply.
Paidion

Man judges a person by his past deeds, and administers penalties for his wrongdoing. God judges a person by his present character, and disciplines him that he may become righteous.

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jasonmodar
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Re: The Failing Work Ethic

Post by jasonmodar » Tue Nov 29, 2016 10:43 am

Hi Homer,

Our church recently faced this very dilemma, or at least something very similar. We're in northern California and we had a lady (I'll call her Brittany) referred to us by a pastor in Arizona who knew our pastor. She was homeless, in her 40's, and in need of food and lodging. One family from our church took her in for a week or so and then another lady in our church (I'll call her Kelly) took her in for about 2 weeks. Kelly lived near potential job opportunities that Brittany could apply for and could better give temporary care to Brittany while she attempted to get back on her feet. Since our church is small our pastor and our board (which I am on) also recommended her look into some of the programs that larger churches in our area offered. They have programs that offer longer term housing and programs that help people find and keep work. We helped her locate these churches and programs and offered to be a reference. We also looked into government shelters and programs and things of that nature that could help her long term.

Kelly meanwhile was driving Brittany to job interviews that were oddly short. She'd drop her off at a Target, Walmart, Taco Bell, etc and she'd be in the store for maybe 10 minutes tops and then come back. She always had some excuse as to why the interview was short and constantly made assurances that companies were interested in hiring her. As for the help our church was offering in terms of connecting her to larger ministries and government resources, she basically ignored that and wanted help on her terms. We found out she had a listed residence in another county and that we could get guaranteed aid for her as long as she was willing to go to that county. She wasn't willing.

My wife, who's our church's admin, contacted Brittany's aunt and mother. The aunt warned us that Brittany has warn out her welcome with even her own family and always like to play the victim. The mother was beside herself with grief and lamented about how Brittany has had chance after chance after chance to get her life together but simply wastes those chances over and over again. Brittany has made a lifetime habit of looking for handouts and the easy way out.

Our pastor and board decided we didn't want to enable Brittany's behavior and made a last ditch effort to help her. We offered to either pay for transportation to the county where she could get assistance, pay for one month's rent with a lady here in our county who was willing to rent a room to her, or pay for a weekend's stay at a local hotel coupled with submitting, on her behalf, an application to a local mega church that could take her into one of their long term homeless aid programs. She opted for the 3rd option and when our pastor went to check her into the hotel the hotel said that she was no longer welcome in their establishment. Legally they weren't allowed to disclose the reason but it doesn't take a genius to figure out reasoning for why someone wouldn't be welcome back to a hotel. She either skipped out on a bill or trashed the place. Either way, after that happened she left Kelly's and we basically never heard from her again, with the exception of a couple of emails letting our church know we didn't do anything to help her.

I'm not sure if that helps answer your question but it's a real life example. I hope it helped in someway.

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Paidion
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Re: The Failing Work Ethic

Post by Paidion » Tue Nov 29, 2016 12:24 pm

Thank you Jason, for sharing that story with us. Obviously your church did all they could to help Brittany, but she didn't want real help—only handouts. They did right in not continuing to enable that life style.

However, we must be careful not to generalize concerning needy people. I think those who have the attitudes and life style of Brittany are a very small minority. But even though they might comprise as much as half or even more, of the poor, we need to discern the genuine needy, who would be willing to work and become independent if they were only given the opportunity. We need to give them that opportunity.
Paidion

Man judges a person by his past deeds, and administers penalties for his wrongdoing. God judges a person by his present character, and disciplines him that he may become righteous.

Avatar shows me at 75 years old. I am now 83.

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