Before getting into the Bible on a Sunday morning with my daughter and wife at our home, I had listened to an interview of Brian Kilmeade with Mike Rowe who has a show called “Dirty Jobs.” They were discussing the issues within the current state of the American workforce. Mike stated, “We still have seven million able-bodied men sitting out the entire workforce.” In his view, we went from what he referred to as a “skills-gap” to a “will-gap.” He believes that we have lots of unemployed people that are not trained for the jobs that are open, as well as many who have, for whatever reason, elected not to step into those jobs.
Mike said that he gets hundreds of emails stating that for the last few years in construction, they cannot find people “who are willing to show up early, stay late, and learn a skill that’s in demand.” They played a recording of a man who was three weeks into building a home and for three days straight his workers didn’t show up. He said he has built commercial buildings and residential homes all over America but has never seen the work ethic this bad before. Mike said that for years, every year that five people retire from the skilled trades, only two replace them.
According to a U.S. Chamber of Commerce survey taken in May, 2022, a quarter of those who are unemployed, many of whom lost jobs during the pandemic, say, “Government aid packages during the pandemic have incentivized them to not actively look for work.” So, in other words, by being rewarded to remain in their condition without having to seek out work and rejoin the workforce, they remain in a place that is not beneficial for them, or their families if they have one. Also, it was stated that many have retired, transitioned to part time work, or are now managing the household (“The Pandemic Unemployed Survey: Why Americans Are Staying Out Of The Workforce”; uschamber.com).
As pointed out, some are getting by with government aid and unemployment benefits. This can be a great blessing if understood to be only a temporary fix, but it can be a hindrance if we become dependent upon them. It can enable us to remain in our condition, co-dependent on the government without any need to change. At that point they control us, and our votes which they seek, while damaging the economy and furthering the curse of co-dependency on man for those who do not look to the Lord for His assistance in their lives.
As I asked the Lord what He would have us look at that particular morning, this interview instantly came to mind, along with a spiritual parallel regarding His building project, the building of the temple of His body with souls by His workers (John 2:21).
God’s Home Building Project
What I saw was that, just like the government who has actually encouraged laziness in our workforce by continuous rewarding for doing nothing productive, so has the majority of church leadership in America through their teachings. I have been in this unemployed place personally. I understand that many lack the skills and confidence to move on, but government aid is not the final solution. Instead, it can enable, and even encourage a work ethic that isn’t fruitful for anyone.
The church in America has become so self-absorbed that many are no longer active as workers in the Lord’s harvest, doing their part in the “building” of that which He will inhabit. We now have many “no-shows” in the workplace of the Lord. Many of His “workers” have also walked off the job, shirking their responsibility to be actively involved in the harvest of souls on earth, expecting to still be “paid in full” with His salvation/deliverance. As reflected in the world, it’s an attitude of entitlement that will cost many their place at the Lord’s table.
It is my strong opinion, based on numerous Scriptures, that the number one cause of this spiritual laziness has been the so-called doctrine of eternal security that claims once I have turned to Christ I can never lose my right of inheritance in Him (i.e. salvation), even though I continuously walk in disobedience, in particular to His command to “go and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:18-20). Church governments have encouraged this rebellion, cursing God’s children with little to no incentive concerning why they need to move forward, persevering in the will of the Lord so as to be saved (Matthew 10:22, 24:13; Hebrews 3:14, 10:35-39).
Jesus gave His disciples some parables, picturing for them what the kingdom of heaven was like. In one of them, He spoke of a man who went on a journey, entrusting His possessions to his servants. Upon His return they were called to give an account of what they did with what He gave them.
Two of the three servants were “faithful with a few things” they had been given and were praised by their master who said, “Well done, good and faithful slave. You have been faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.” (Matthew 25:21, 23)
The third slave, though, was rebuked for his actions upon the Master’s return;
“Then the man who had received the one talent came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. So I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’ His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew [meaning, “So this is what you think I’m like.”] that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest. Take the talent from him and give it to the one who has the ten talents. For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. And throw that worthless servant outside [i.e. out of God’s presence, out of His body], into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’”
Because of his excuse for his behavior, even accusing his master of being a “hard man” who took what was not his own, the master then took from him what little responsibility he had been given to work with. Not only did he take the one talent from him, but he called him a “worthless servant” that was cast out of his household, “into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (See the Bible study Outer Darkness.)
In this parable of Jesus about Himself and His servants, members of His own household, we understand the truth of what is possible for the Christian who becomes lazy and does nothing with their Master’s possession they have been entrusted with. They will be cast out into the darkness, unprotected from the extreme harshness at the end of this age in particular where there will be unequaled harshness of God’s judgment on the rest of mankind that has rejected Him as Lord and Savior. As Paul taught, it is possible, by eating the bread and drinking the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner, to be “condemned along with the world” (1 Corinthians 11:27-32). Very few, if any it would seem, standing behind pulpits in our nation proclaim this warning. They will have much blood on their hands if they do not repent.
I call all this salvation without God’s rules “short-cut theology.” It’s like the person who has entered a race. The gun goes off, they stand up, walk across the infield and demand their prize for being in the race. Obviously they will be disqualified for their attitude of entitlement. These people represent the foolish virgins in the body of Christ who hear the call of God to prepare for His return, but do nothing to gain the oil necessary to keep their lamps burning and are then shut out from the Lord’s banquet. There is no such thing as a “participation” medal in the race of God’s kingdom for those who join the race legally through Christ, but do not finish the race per His guidelines.
Paul spoke of this very thing in his first letter to the Christians in Corinth. He said;
“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.”
(1 Corinthians 9:24-27/NIV)
Paul was not using the statement of his being disqualified as a funny joke or metaphor that meant nothing to a Christian, as the doctrine of devils has made it mean. Per the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, he meant what he said.
Your spiritual filter of what is true or not all depends upon what you believe to be true in regards to the Lord’s way of salvation. As prophesied, the devil has deceived many in these last days thereby causing the great falling away from Christ that Paul spoke of (2 Thessalonians 2:1-13). Believing they can be saved while being a “wicked, lazy servant” of their Master, absent from His work-force on earth, will cause many, if they do not repent quickly, to find themselves on the wrong side of the door of His salvation when the door of His ark is shut.
In His rebuke of the lazy, lukewarm Laodicean church in John’s Revelation, Jesus said;
“I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm — neither hot nor cold — I am about to spit you out of my mouth [i.e. to be separated from His body!]. You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see. Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me. To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”
The Harvest Is Plentiful, But The Workers Are Few
As Jesus was going through all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, He healed “every kind of sickness and every kind of disease.” He had compassion on the people because they were like sheep without a shepherd. He said to His disciples;
“The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”
The very next verses in chapter ten say that Jesus summoned His disciples and gave them authority to do the same thing they had seen Him do. The twelve were then sent out by Him. If a city or village did not receive them or their words they were to wipe off the dust from that place as a witness against them. Jesus said;
“I tell you the truth, it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town.”
Remember, Sodom and Gomorrah were burned with fire. This type of judgment on those who refuse to turn to Him is seen in other Scriptures as well (see Matthew 22:1-7, John 15:1-11, Hebrews 6:1-8, Revelation 18). As we have seen, though, this place of weeping and gnashing of teeth will also be for those of the Lord’s servants who, at His return, have become lazy with that which He has given to them. The biblical principle for this is to whom much is given much is required. We have been given revelation knowledge by the Spirit that the world cannot receive. We’re children of the light. We know better and are therefore held more accountable if we reject the knowledge of the truth so as to be saved and choose to walk in the darkness (2 Thessalonians 2:1-12).
May we all be encouraged to repent, if necessary, shaking off the spiritual lethargy that has leavened the church in America, and do what we have been called to do. Our Master is soon returning and we will be asked to give an account to Him of what we have done.
In his book, “An Asian Harvest” by Paul Hattaway, he says;
“Strangely, in some parts of the Body of Christ today, ‘work’ has become a dirty four-letter word. Men and women in the Bible knew what it meant to work hard for Jesus. Paul wrote, ‘I strenuously contend with all the energy Christ so powerfully works in me” (Colossians 1:29). In the letter to the Romans, three women are mentioned who ‘worked very hard in the Lord’ (Romans 16:12). The Greek word used in that verse implies that they toiled to the point of exhaustion… We need balance and rest, but the world is going to hell! Don’t sit around watching. Get busy in His harvest field, for the Bible says, ‘He who gathers crops in summer is a prudent son, but he who sleeps during harvest is a disgraceful son’ (Proverbs 10:5).” (p.71)
May we be a prudent son, rather than a disgraceful son, and be found among His faithful workers who hear Him say, “Well done, good and faithful slave. You have been faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.” To God be the glory.