Last time we closed our discussion of this matter of getting something for nothing by suggesting that we examine our own live to see to what degree we are trying to practice this evil.
What now did you find?
Did you give any thought to the area of your church life? Must men brand you as one who is trying to get something for nothing during the divine worship service and matters related to it? Is your hand always ready to receive anything and everything that the Church has to give, but seldom if ever ready to impart more than a farthing, and to get away without giving that much, if you can manage it? You come to church for a blessing, but you have no offering to give. Youhave hundreds of dollars to give for worldly entertainment but in the sphere of the spiritual and the worthwhile you cannot find a few pennies to further the cause of God’s kingdom. O, do not deny that. Your color television set you deemed a necessity and even though it costs you many week’s wages to purchase, you managed to get one. But $2.00 a week for Christian education, which amounts to less than a black and white TV set, you cannot scrape together. The collection plate in church is passed by or insulted with a sum so small that you slip it in under cover of your hand, lest others see that you give next to nothing.
But you expect the church to do everything for you. If you or your family are hospitalized you expect frequent and regular calls. You will be liberal in your criticism and fault findings, but you will refuse to give a word of encouragement or help to right the wrongs of which you are so free to speak. You assume the Let-George-Do-It attitude, and here in the church take the position that the church owes you a blessing. You will decry the expenses but offer no suggestion as to how it can be done without these necessary expenses. Something for nothing is your slogan.
And what about the members of the various societies and organizations in the church? Members there are who avoid all possible committee work. They will see to it that they are where they can reap all the benefits of the work of these committees. But they will refuse all committee work. When it comes to studying for the Bible discussion they will also leave this to the others. They are glad to go home with the fruit of someone else’s toil, but you must not even ask them to read the passage over before they leave home. They come to get something but have no intention of giving anything.
These are conspicuously absent from the business meeting. They will not give as much as their presence and their vote. They will be very free to give you their opinion of how wrong these decisions were. But the only way you can get them to these business meetings is to fail to announce them as business meetings. Again, they are always too busy to attend those nights that the officers are chosen and the committees are appointed. If you do not see them there, they are not apt to be remembered for an office or a committee position. Should you nevertheless place them in office or on a committee, then you will see how freely they will give and how liberally! They will give you a thousand reasons why they cannot serve and ought to be taken off from the position given them.
It is so easy to be a Midianitish Moses!
There was an Egyptian Moses who was bold and ready to fight for the cause that he had chosen. While in Pharaoh’s house in Egypt he is a mighty and brave man. You had better not tussle with him. He was ready to do something and that for nothing. No one hired him to kill the Egyptian who was abusing an Hebrew. But that Midianitish Moses was a different man entirely. At the burning bush he pleads with God not to be appointed to an office, not to be given a work to do. He finds all kinds of excuses for not taking the office. Better was the Egyptian Moses. Better still is the Wilderness Moses who carried the whole rebellious nation on his shoulders, who wore himself out in the cause which he had chosen.
These lines are not intended for those that have nothing to give. They are not written for those who would speak but find it difficult to express their opinion, nor for those who would serve on committees and in offices but have a health problem or the like that makes it difficult and works a hardship upon them or their families. Let these be content in the truth that when others give to them and serve with their abilities and talents, the truth of God’s Word stands that it is more blessed to give than to receive. And they, by standing and waiting, in thankfulness that God has given them men that can serve, give these more gifted, talented members, or who are better situated financially, the opportunity to receive this greater blessedness for giving. And they themselves are blessed because they are giving these the opportunity to show mercy.
But what saith the Scripture about all this?
To mind come the words of Solomon in Proverbs 6:6, “Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise.” It would be called heresy to quote this text to those who want and demand forty hours wages, for thirty hours work, or to the have nots who are not interested in obtaining a job or labor for their hands or minds but want an everlasting and ever increasing handout and believe that it is coming to them whether they work or not. Then also there is the text of Paul in II Thessaloninans 3:10 whereby the Word of God not only ignores the cry of the slothful but pricks their bubble so completely. “For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should they eat.”
And has all the showering of gifts for nothing upon the masses that clamor for a share of this earth’s goods without any labor on their part solved any of our national problems? Another year has come and gone. Reviews of the year have appeared in almost every newspaper and magazine either in an editorial or a contributed column. And none of them can show that all this disregarding of Proverbs 6:6 and of II Thessalonians 3:10 has solved one bit of our problems. The spirit behind all this rioting and crying for equality and sharing of the wealth is wrong. And you are never going to solve a problem with such an evil motive and spirit by disregarding the Word of God. Let the man who refuses to work when given the opportunity take heed that GOD says that if he will not work, he shall not eat. God is the One Who says that he is a fool and ought to go to school among the lowly but wise ants.
Once again, these lines are not written for those who cannot work, who would work but are barred from jobs because of color, social standing or the like. It is not meant for the handicapped nor, surely, for those who cannot find work because they will not bow before the godless unions and their demand of allegiance to man above God and advocacy of rebellion against authorities. It is for those who live from the principle of getting something for nothing in a deliberate striving to benefit at the expense of others.
And that the unbelieving world cares not about God’s Word and tries to solve all its problems apart from that Word is to be understood. Paul tells us that the carnal mind is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. Romans 8:7. The Psalms declare that those who say that there is no God—whether they say that with their lips or by the policies they adopt and the practices which they advocate—are fools. But that the church,—maybe it is better to say, but that there are those in the church—who will advocate endless handouts, pampering the Let-George-Do-The-Work-While-We-Enjoy-The-Profits-Of-Their-Labor advocates, is a blot on the very name of the Church of God. Of course the Church is humanitarian in the sense that she is merciful and deeply concerned with the sufferings of mankind.
Of course the individual believers are Merciful Samaritans (rather than Good Samaritans) and do not ask after a man’s color or race or family tree before assisting him and putting out a helping hand. But the programs of the world and of the Church must be different and by God’s grace are different. The Church approaches all problems In His Fear and therefore turns to the Word of God. The world turns, as did Nebuchadnezzar, to its worldly wise men and. astrologers. They have their “authorities” on economics, education, housing, welfare and what have you? They study the works of men. They do not concern themselves with “Thus saith the Lord.” And that all this confusion and unrest, that all this rioting and revolution is due to sin and is bred by sin they will never admit. Instead, according to them, it is simply poverty that causes all this revolt and unrest. The solution then is at hand: Give these people what they want! Give them something for nothing! But we will reap a whirlwind pretty soon. For, once tasting that they can get so much for nothing, these are not going to be satisfied with that much. They will ever reach out for more and more for nothing until they become the haves to mistreat the have-nots which benefited them so greatly.
This is not in His fear and will only bring more and more fear of man to mankind. We, have not seen the end yet of the unrest in our streets and in our colleges. For we have not yet seen the cause of it all; and we refuse to see the only cure. Let the Church be warned not to try to find a “social gospel” that will solve the problems of the natural man. There is only one gospel and that is the gospel as it is in Christ. It is the gospel that preaches the complete blotting out of the guilt of God’s people through the poverty and death of God’s Son in our flesh. It is a gospel that is very particular and not for every individual in the world. It is for every nation, tongue and tribe, but it is not for every man, woman and child in every nation, tongue and tribe. Deny that, when Scripture teaches this from the announcement in the very beginning of two seeds (and one only that would be blessed) through Jesus’ words that He lays down His life for His sheep, and when He prays not for the world, and you simply do not understand the true gospel. Is it perhaps because we are not living as pilgrims and strangers and have this world and this life for our goal? Then our position is hopeless, for there is no good news for this world. The gospel promises a world to come in which only some of humanity shall be blessed, for these only will have the forgiveness of their sins. These shall receive something worthwhile for nothing, in order forever toserve God in glory.
Indeed, we receive something for nothing. Salvation is absolutely free. We received the Son of God in our flesh without doing anything ourselves. We received His cross in spite of rather than because of our works. We receive the pardon of His blood and did receive it even before we were born or could desire it. SeeRomans 9:11-13. But we received something for nothing in order that we might be able to do something. We receive salvation in order to be able to serve God perfectly in the new Jerusalem. We are created in Christ Jesus UNTO good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:10. Yea, because we are heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, we receive EVERYTHING for nothing that we may walk in His fear, now in principle and presently in perfection.