Man Don’t Work Man Don’t Eat

“A lazy person sleeps soundly – and goes hungry.” Proverbs 19:15

“For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat.” 2 Thessalonians 3:10

I often travel outside the United States and come across the belief that in most Third World countries, the Caribbean and Latin America, there is a better work ethic THAN SOME IN AMERICA. Latin Americans, Asians, and West Indians all agree on one thing: the American work ethic has weakened. It has been replaced by the immigrant work ethic. That is a harsh criticism for sure, but it is

There Are Jobs Listed Everywhere

clear that none of us labor as hard as our parents or grandparents did when America was a blue-collar industrial nation versus today’s white collar service nation. Many immigrants can often do multiple trades and are ready to roll up their sleeves to work their way to the top the old-fashioned way for less money. All too willing to sift through jobs at the very bottom of American society, newcomers are patient enough to just keep working until they make it to the finish line in the land of opportunity like the litany of immigrants before them. Most of them fulfill jobs that many Americans won’t touch! America knows that. Two signs can be found, such as, on the Mexican border: ‘Keep Out’ and ‘Help Wanted’. Since when did we become so afraid of the good old-fashioned work that made our country the world’s greatest industrial power?

When my wife and I were in Antigua, we met a very colorful and talkative taxi driver. Antigua is a typical Caribbean Island. Touted as a luxury Caribbean escape, the island’s main source of livelihood is tourism. The hotels and resorts are beautiful, but poverty abounds outside of those pristine spaces. Yet, as tourists, the liveliness of the landscape depicted another image. We saw productivity, people busying about, working and doing little odd jobs, honest hustles, selling just about any trinket to make a dollar. Curious, I said to the taxi driver, “It seems like everybody here has a job.” He turned around, gave me a hard stare and shouted, “Listen, man don’t work, man don’t eat.”

I have never forgotten that statement because it sounded like the Apostle Paul‘s comments to the church. Working hard must be very God, it must be very Jesus, it must be very disciple it must be very christian. There’s no welfare system in the Caribbean, the driver explained, no government support if you’re out of work. Livelihood is tied to work, not welfare. You don’t work, you starve. With no government handouts to fall back on, a fierce work spirit has been engrained into the minds of Antiguans from a very young age. Many don’t have formal jobs, but they don’t consider themselves unemployed. They develop many creative, profitable channels to survive. West Indians would love to move to America, he said, to start businesses, knowing they could “out hustle” most people there who rely on government support. Perhaps he knew what the Apostles new, elbow grease will always be attractive to employers and it will always provide a meal for the hungry.

There are many hard-working people in this country, but we need lots more. Not all of us have the kind of work ethic that will enable us, our children, or this country to get ahead. Is that the way things are in the land of plenty, of excess, heck, where our garbage could feed the rest of the world? Is that the way God made us? No, God made Adam and the first thing he gave him was some work to do! Has our abundance killed our work ethic? Has America’s affluence comforted us to the point of paralysis, that even if we’re unwilling to work, the government won’t allow us to starve? Are christians victim to this laziness that would rather collect unemployment than get out there and work 3 part-time jobs to make ends meet? Unemployment is not vacation pay, it is meant to give us a grace to find work (I am glad so many people I love can take advantage of it now). I never saw an empty classified section during the recession. I did not hear that Career Builder or Monster had a shortage of job listings. So, christian, how about we pray like it’s all up to God and work like it’s all up to us. Let’s set the example that, like Christ, we are willing to do the dirty work and heavy lifting so others we love can have a better life.


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Categories: Notes

Author:De'Andre Salter

De'Andre Salter is a nationally recognized entrepreneur and senior pastor of The Tabernacle, a fast-growing, non-denominational ministry in South Plainfield, New Jersey. Salter is a self-made success and CEO of Professional Risk Solutions, LLC, the largest minority-owned specialty brokerage firm in the United States. A Jersey native and Drew University graduate, Salter was honored as one of the “Top 40 Black Executives Under Forty” by The Network Journal. In addition to winning souls, he has a vision to build communities through supporting entrepreneurs. His book,Hope in the Hood, is a springboard to helping others who hail from neighborhoods like his in Newark, build and grow businesses in their community. He is offering not just a step-by-step action plan, but also financial resources.

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