Work or Welfare? That is the choice for many people right now. You can work for minimum wage, or take unemployment (welfare), which pays about $2 per hour more. While most people say they hate being on welfare, when the decision is $2 an hour between work/welfare, they opt for the welfare.

Is it wrong? It depends on which side you’re on. If you’re paying the taxes for the person, you’ll probably say it is wrong for them to take the government money when there are minimum wage jobs to be had. But when you have children to feed, then the choice between work/welfare is simpler. You’ll probably choose the welfare.

On the other hand, some times it is not as cut and dried. I was talking to my neighbor the other day. She was telling me that she’s been doing IT support for a major company for the last 20 years, and recently, she’s been hiding out; just looking like she was busy. Basically she was afraid that if she wasn’t doing something that her position would be eliminated because there wasn’t anything to fix. I’m sure you’ll agree with me that what she was doing was wrong. Or maybe you’re a tax-payer and your grateful that she’s not collecting unemployment checks too.

The Bible is clear on the matter. You are commanded by God to work in order to create your wealth. This comes from this famous verse from the ten commandments:

Six days you shall labor and do all your work. Exodus 20:9 (NIV)

Notice that little word “shall.” It does not use the word “can.” If it did, the verse would read Six days you can labor… There is a big difference, as that one word (shall) makes it a command instead of being optional.

What does this mean? For starters, it means the government run welfare scheme that we have right now is not biblical. You should not get a penny from the government if you an able-bodied person capable of doing work.

Work has a purpose. The purpose is to allow us to be “fruitful” in the lives of others around us. If you’re slacking, then you aren’t working and are depending on the generosity of the company and those around you for your paycheck. If the slacker wasn’t their, all the other employees and the stock-holders could all take home more money.

Being fruitful is how try to live my life. For one thing, it means being a servant to others.

It kind of reminds me of a saying we have in the sales department. The phrase goes something like this: “If you aren’t directly serving the customer, then you should be serving the person that does.”

What this means is that customer service is everyone’s job. That is how every company makes its money; by meeting the wants and needs of its customers. There are front-line sales people that are the face of the company and deal directly with the customer. Then there are the people in the background, like accountants, human resources, inventory buyers, product designers, etc. These people have customers too; they are to assist in any way the people that are on the front lines that interact directly with the customers. If they don’t, then the guy on the front end is going to feel like he’s hanging out in the wind, naked and alone.

I have a lot of respect for those people on the tip of the spear, as the metaphor goes. They have it rough. They get the objections and the rejection directly from the client before the sale, and all the complaints from them about any customer service issues after the sale. While that is going on, they get extra heat from upper management because they aren’t selling enough – it is never enough. And then they get the bare minimum amount of cooperation from the rest of the company, because they are often not around the office enough to be considered part of the team.

If you are under-employed at your current job, you have a duty to go to your boss and tell him you’d like more work added to your plate. After he picks his jaw off the floor, he’ll test you. If you pass the test by taking on the extra work, you’ll be in line for a promotion. I can almost guarantee it. Because when you are being fruitful, you are following “the plan.” It is how you make money, God’s way.

Photo Credit

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 Biblica. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

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11 Responses to “Work, Welfare. Do You Have to Even Ask?”

  1. I used to ask my boss for more work, and yes, his jaw did drop to the floor. He never quite understood why I wanted to work so hard…..

  2. Peggy Larson says:

    If I asked for more work, I wouldn’t be able to take this class!
    Seriously though, asking for more work does create more value in your “customer’s” eyes and therefore you are more valuable too.

    Peggy Larson
    Quilting – Colors and Fun!

  3. alam ghafoor says:

    brilliant article! amazing what a differeence a word makes ..’shall’ or ‘can’.. keep up the good work.

  4. Mike Norris says:

    I think most people want to work. Asking for more work is a little weird. But if you want to move up that may be the way to go.


  5. Hi Tim,

    I particularly liked how you stressed the particular word selection in the commandment (yup, one of God’s Big 10 List) that we shall work.

    I generally am hearing just the opposite of her experience from folks who are employees. Most are looking more fatigued because indeed they are getting a heavier workload for the same pay. I admire how you provide the concrete tip advice of when this does occur, what should the employee do.

    Happy Dating and Relationships,

    April Braswell
    Christian Dating Expert and Coach

  6. Interesting point of view here. My husband lost his job unexpectedly about two years ago and wanted to go into business for himself. He did collect unemployment for a while and was looking for a job in case after much planning he might find that starting a business during a recession was not a good idea. He had previously paid into the system for 30 years and never took a penny. During the time he was on unemployment, he did interview quite a bit, he did the research to start his own business, and he added two bedrooms and a bathroom in a previously unusable space that would have cost $125,000 to hire someone to do but instead it was only $10,000 to do it himself. Though this may sound like a luxury – it wasn’t. My son and daughter were still sharing a bedroom at 9 & 7 years old in our tiny two bedroom house. We needed the extra rooms desparately. Had he taken a minimum wage job and we paid someone to do the work or buy a bigger house we probably would have been foreclosed on. I feel we made the right choice. I am happy for those who have never had to accept unemployment.

    Lisa McLellan
    Babysitting Services, Nanny Services, and Nanny agencies

  7. Sonya Lenzo says:

    I appreciated the way you valued sales people in this post. In 30 years of sales, I often saw the other side of it…people who thought sales was “easy”…and therefore were reluctant to help the sales force.
    Sonya Lenzo

  8. Without customers, a company doesn’t survive – good point to remember the two parts to customer service!

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  9. Rob Northrup says:

    I think that welfare programs should all have strict time limits on them. Like six months max, maybe a year in extreme circumstances. This includes unemployment compensation. People should never be paid to NOT work, it destroys their initiative and their dignity.

    As it is now we have created a chronic class of dependent people who feel that a paycheck is a basic human right.

    Seize the Day,

    Simple Family Survival Tips For Disasters and Emergencies

  10. I’ve seen both sides of this issue & in general agree that people shouldn’t be rewarded for not working but there are certain situations where I think the system would benefit greatly from having a case by case evaluation done.

    I’ve seen a young woman with no family get pregnant & then have the guy split & never pay any child support. Then she was stuck raising her two babies, who are autistic…and yet I couldn’t in good conscience say she should be thrown off welfare & forced to work a 5 dollar an hour job that wouldn’t even cover her rent in a crappy efficiency apartment, let alone cover child care for her special needs babies. Then she also wouldn’t be bonding with those kids when it’s most critical if she’s out working 12-16 hours a day just to barely cover her rent.

    Now that’s an exception but I’d love to see welfare be reformed to make the able bodied get work & pay their share of taxes while making it possible for mothers like this girl be able to get the help they need when the dad ditches her & the state wont go after him for being a dead beat dad.

    The Success Secrets

  11. michael says:

    I completely disagree with you on this.

    People pay money into the unemployment insurance plans.

    It is an insurance policy for when you are laid off if there is no longer any work.

    you make it sound like you can just go and get a job anywhere, any time with your biblical skills – it just doesn’t work that way.

    How long do you think it takes to learn a new trade or skill? why should an employer have to hire an unskilled laborer?