My apologies to Dire Straits for stealing the name of their catchy tune, Something for Nothing. It was an 80’s song where blue collar appliance delivery men wished they could play the guitar on MTV instead of their own work drudgery. They saw the benefits of being in a rock band as getting something for nothing.

My wife and I recently received the $1200.00 stimulus check issued by the IRS. The reason for the check was the CoVid19 shutdown. The money was issued to stimulate the crumbing economy (spend it!) and in other cases to simply pay bills until unemployment insurance could kick in. We didn’t have to do anything for it except be taxpayers which is a little like something for nothing hence the song that popped into my mind.

I just read the other day that certain Democrat Senators are now proposing a $2000.00 check per month, per American with incomes less than $130,000.00 per year. The stimulus would last months until the crisis passes. That strikes me as more something for nothing and I think it’s a bad idea.

At first glance this looks compassionate since it’s apparent that many people are being denied the right to work and are hurting financially. It should also be pointed out that the Democrat led states are the most radical when it comes to re-opening. Other Democrats are even suggesting it’s the first step in establishing a universal basic income for every American. That appears to be the real agenda as the power of the nanny state and big government increase.

The motivation under the compassion is to pander for votes and make fiscal conservatives look bad and uncaring. It’s politics that motivates and not compassion. It behooves the political left to keep the country shut down as long as possible. The longer people cannot work then the better it is for the left and their socialist agenda. Whether you like Trump or not the end game is get him out of office and get as many people as possible dependent on government.


The net result of these type of proposals is to pay people not to work. When you pay people not to work it taps into aspects of human nature that are contrary to what the Bible says about work.

Allow me to use myself as an illustration when the incentive to collect unemployment was stronger than a need to find work.

Many years ago I worked in a manufacturing environment. I belonged to a union and the type business was seasonal. The slow part of the season was late spring, early summer and it was typical that many people, including me, would be laid off. The duration of the lay off could be anywhere from one month to about three months depending on various factors including seniority and supply and demand for the product..

During the time of layoff a person would draw unemployment insurance. At the time you did not have to look for a job. The insurance would last for 26 weeks and it was possible to file for an extension. You simply gambled you could wait out the layoff and eventually get your job back. Since the layoffs occurred in late spring many people did not mind at all if the layoff continued well into the summer.

Obviously, it depended on one’s individual circumstances in how one viewed the layoff. In some cases, the unemployment insurance was inadequate so the longer the layoff went the harder it would be to make ends meet. These folks would be anxious for the layoff to end.

In other circumstances, say a single person with few expenses or someone who had access to a second income, the layoff served as a nice paid vacation. Because my wife worked outside of the home we didn’t mind the lay off much at all and took the gamble I’d get my job back. I always did.

Here I wish to make the obvious observation that I made above. If you pay people not to work, many will not. By removing incentive you appeal to the desire to get something for nothing. In a desire to create a reasonable safety net the result is to encourage dependency on the state and make laziness a virtue. It also should be painted out that some people are actually making more money on the enhanced unemployment than they did when working!

I personally do not believe the Democrat initiatives are all that well meaning but even if they are, providing incentive to not work is not something the Bible would endorse. This New Testament passage is a pretty good indication of what God thinks of honorable work. Note that the passage is written as a command that should result from believing the gospel and being “in Christ.”:

10 For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat. 11 For we hear that some among you walk in idleness, not busy at work, but busybodies. 12 Now such persons we command and encourage in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work quietly and to earn their own living.  The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (2 Th 3:10–12). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

But that’s not all. Old Testament wisdom literature places a high value on work.

In all toil there is profit, but mere talk tends only to poverty. (Proverbs 14:23)

Whoever works his land will have plenty of bread, but he who follows worthless pursuits will have plenty of poverty. (Proverbs 28:19)

Too often we see work as a burden because work is often hard and laziness is easy; especially when you get paid to do nothing!

These notions fly in the face of what God has revealed to us in Scripture regarding the value of work. Wayne Grudem in his book, Christian Ethics-An Introduction to Biblical Moral Reasoning, begins his chapter of Work, Rest, Vacations and Retirement like this:

Although many people seek to avoid work or to work as little as possible, the Bible presents, in general, a positive view of work. It views work in itself as a good hing and as pleasing to God.

We see this first because, before there was any sin in the world, God gave Adam and Eve work to do: “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion…” (Gen. 1:28). Furthermore, before there was sin in the world, “the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work and keep it” (2:15). Work is not simply a painful part of the fallen human condition, but it part of what God intended for us in his “very good” creation,”

Christian Ethics-An Introduction to Biblical Moral Reasoning, by Wayne Grudem (pg 921)

Many people have been scared half to death by the CoVid19 crisis. Given the initial models that predicted millions would die it makes some sense to help those financially crushed by being forced not to work. But is that any reason to keep millions out of work even as the predictions have turned out to be flat out wrong?

The fact is the issue is so politicized I have little hope that all of a sudden our government as a whole would realize the biblical value of honest work and seek to do the right thing by creating reasonable mechanisms to get people back to work.

Christians should be counter-cultural when it comes to work. Working to please and honor the Lord is a good thing (Col. 3:21, 23). Therefore, we should seek to return to work as soon as we can and at the same time be as safe as we reasonably can. We can do both.