Mason Harris
Newbern, Tennessee

Someone has said, "Work is the inevitable condition of human life, the true source of human welfare." (Leo Tolstoy) Probably the most unhappy people on earth are those who have nothing worthwhile to do, -and this applies in many instances with as much truth to the wealthy "Club woman" at the top of the social ladder as to the bum at the bottom. Congenial and useful work is the secret of mental and physical well-being.

It has been said, "If a man does not work, neither shall he eat." History may give credit to one of our founding fathers for this rule, but actually an apostle of our Lord penned these words to a group of Christians who were not working at all, but had become busybodies and were walking disorderly. (2 Thess. 3: 10)

This rule was a maxim among the Jews. It is founded in obvious justice, and is in accordance with the great law under which our Creator has placed us. That rule says, "In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread" (Gen. 3:19). This rule, as stated by Paul, extends to all who are able to work for a living, and binds us not to contribute to their support if they will not labor for it. No one can be justified in assisting a lazy man.

Our welfare society seems to have missed the point in Paul's teaching. He gave a rule by which people could regulate their lives. They had the right to choose whether they would feast or starve, and it would be settled on the simple issue as to whether or not they would work. How simple!

Of course, this rule did not apply to the handicapped that were physically or mentally unable to work-or where no opportunity for work existed. There were provisions for such. But no provision was to be made for the lazy and indifferent. If they preferred starvation to work, it was their own choice to make and none should interfere. In no possible circumstances are we to foster indolence. Weak and foolish administration of funds for charitable purposes has too often fostered the poverty it aimed at curing. Indiscriminate giving is here forbidden. Let everybody learn the simple lesson that "you have to milk the cow to get the milk; and you have to fight off the bees to get the honey."

June 28, 1973