Embassy of Heaven

Demands of World vs Christ

 

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A man's work will feed him

'But no one will feed you and you will die of hunger', is said in reply to this. To the objection that a man living according to Christ's teaching will die of hunger Christ replied by one brief sentence.18 the one which is interpreted as a justification for the sloth of the clergy, Matthew 10:10; Luke 10:7 - L. T. He said:

Take no wallet for your journey, neither two coats, nor shoes, nor staff: for the labourer is worthy of his food. In that same house remain, eating and drinking such things as they give, for the labourer is worthy of his hire.19 Luke 10:7

The labourer is worthy, axioV estin literally means: can and should have his subsistence. It is a very short saying; but for anyone who understands it as Christ did, there can be no idea of arguing that a man who has no property will die of hunger. To understand these words in their real meaning one must first of all quite renounce the supposition that man's welfare consists in idleness. One must return to the conception natural to all unperverted people, that the necessary condition of happiness for man is not idleness, but work; that a man cannot reject work; that not to work is dull, wearisome, and hard, as it is dull and hard for an ant, a horse, or any other animal not to work. One must forget our savage superstition that the position of a man with an inexhaustible purse - that is to say, with a Government post, the ownership of land, or of bonds bearing interest, which make it possible for him to do nothing - is a naturally happy condition. One must restore in one's imagination that view of work which all unperverted people have, and which Christ had when he said that the labourer was worthy of his subsistence. Christ could not imagine people who would regard work as a curse, and therefore could not imagine a man who did not work or did not wish to work. He always supposes that his disciples work. And therefore he says: 'If a man works, then his work will feed him.' If another man takes the produce of this man's labour, then the other man will feed the worker just because he reaps the advantage of his labour. And so the worker will receive his subsistence. He will not have property, but there can be no doubt about his subsistence.

The difference between Christ's teaching about work and the teaching of our world lies in this, that according to the world's teaching work is man's peculiar merit for which he keeps account with others and considers that he has a right to the more subsistence the more he works; while according to Christ's teaching work is a necessary condition of man's life and subsistence is the inevitable consequence of work. Work produces food, food produces work, that is the unending circle: the one is the consequence and the cause of the other. However evil a master may be, he will feed his workman as he will feed the horse that works for him; and will feed him so that the workman may produce as much as possible, in other words, can co-operate in that which provides the welfare of man.

'The son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.'20 Mark 10:45 According to the teaching of Christ each individual man, independently of what the world may be like, will have the best kind of life if he understands that his vocation is not to demand work from others but to devote his own life to working for others, and to give his life a ransom for many. A man who acts so, says Christ, is worthy of his subsistence - that is to say, cannot but receive it. In a word, man does not live that others should work for him, but that he should work for others. Christ sets up the basis which undoubtedly ensures man's material existence, and by the words 'The labourer is worthy of his subsistence', he sets aside that very common objection to the possibility of fulfilling his teaching which says that a man carrying out Christ's teaching among people who do not carry it out will perish of hunger and cold. Christ shows us that a man ensures his subsistence not by taking it from others, but by doing what is useful and necessary for others. The more necessary he is to others the more safe will be his existence.

Man does not live that others should serve him, but that he should himself serve others. He who labours will be fed.

That is a truth confirmed by the life of the whole world.

Till the present time, always and everywhere, where man has worked he has obtained sustenance, as every horse receives his feed. And such sustenance was received by the workers involuntarily, against the grain, for they only desired to free themselves from toil, to get as much as possible, and to seat themselves on the neck of those who were sitting on their necks. Such an involuntary, unwilling worker, envious and angry, was not left without sustenance, and was even more fortunate than the man who did not work but lived on the labour of others. How much more fortunate still will he be who works according to Christ's law, and whose aim is to work as much as he can and to take as little as possible! And how much more happy will his position be when around him there are at least some, and perhaps even many, men like himself, who will serve him!

Work is a necessary condition of man's life. Work also gives welfare to man. And therefore the withholding from others of the fruits of one's labour or of other people's labour, hinders the welfare of man. Giving one's labour to others promotes man's happiness.

Really every man, however he lives - whether according to Christ's teaching or to the world's - is alive only thanks to the work of other people. Others have protected him and given him drink and fed him, and still protect him and feed him and give him drink. But by the world's teaching man, by violence and threats, obliges others to continue to feed him and his family. By Christ's teaching man is equally protected, nourished, and supplied with drink by others; but in order that others should continue to guard, to feed, and to give him drink, he does not bring force to bear on anyone, but tries himself to serve others and to be useful to all men as he can, and thereby he becomes necessary to all. Worldly people will always wish to cease to feed one who is unnecessary to them and who compels them by force to feed him, and at the first opportunity they not only cease to feed him, but kill him as unnecessary. But all men, always, evil as they may be, will carefully feed and safeguard one who works for them.

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