Thursday, August 29, 2013

The Wages of Sin and the Cost of Kings

And to Adam [God] said, "Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you,  ‘You shall not eat of it,’ cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return. Genesis 3:17-19


Today's Fox News headline read: "Fast-food workers strike nationwide in protest against wages."
[Read more:]

Personally I appreciate and respect fast food workers and have encouraged my kids at one time and for one reason or another to consider such work with full knowledge it is not a career per se. That said, it used to be taken at face value and considered to be a respectable means to an end and an incentive to move up the career ladder. After all, if such entry level jobs paid like more skilled positions there would be no such thing as a "dollar menu" and "$6" burgers would be $10.

As I understood growing up and taught my own kids, job is not a civil right or an entitlement and businesses do not exist solely or even primarily for the sake of giving anyone an income. A job is a vocation by which one provides some sort of service for others and is paid commensurate with what the consumer is willing and able to pay. And a business has to make some kind of profit to be a) viable, and b) worth the time, effort, and capital investment of the owner(s) and their management.

Once upon a time, our nation recognized this and became prosperous, powerful, and even relatively peaceful and safe by allowing folks the freedom to run their businesses as they deemed best and to encourage and afford the worker the opportunity by the freedom to seek whatever work they chose and advance through their hard work and dedication.

Was/is that system perfect? Of course not. Why? As Christians, and particularly as Lutherans, we understand it is because of sin and that you cannot legislate fairness and equality where folks put themselves and their personal interests and desires above those of their neighbors.

There is not, never was, and never will be a utopia this side of Eden on one end and the Resurrection on the other where every will receive the perfectly just reward for their labors. [See Genesis 3 above.] Some will receive way more and some much less than they truly deserve.

If you want someone, like government, to try to even that all out by legislation backed by the power of fines, imprisonment, and ultimately the sword, be prepared to pay the greater price of slavery to that government as to a god who controls not only your employer, but you and your children as well.

So Samuel told all the words of the Lord to the people who were asking for a king from him. He said, “These will be the ways of the king who will reign over you: he will take your sons and appoint them to his chariots and to be his horsemen and to run before his chariots. And he will appoint for himself commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and some to plow his ground and to reap his harvest, and to make his implements of war and the equipment of his chariots. He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive orchards and give them to his servants. He will take the tenth of your grain and of your vineyards and give it to his officers and to his servants. He will take your male servants and female servants and the best of your young men and your donkeys, and put them to his work. He will take the tenth of your flocks, and you shall be his slaves. And in that day you will cry out because of your king, whom you have chosen for yourselves, but the Lord will not answer you in that day.” 1 Samuel 8:10-18

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