Put an end to idle hands

Published 7:35 pm Wednesday, July 21, 2010

One day, sometime after World War II, there was a loud knock on our door. A hobo stood on our doorstep, dressed in bib overalls, leather boots and a plaid shirt. He asked if the lady of the house was home.

My mother went to the door, and the man said he was hungry and wanted something to eat. She told him to pick up sticks in the backyard and place them in the trashcan, after which she would provide him with a plate of food for his payment, on the back steps of our home.

My brother asked Mom, “Why would you make him work for his food? Why not just give him the food?”

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“I don’t want to steal his self esteem for a plate of food,” she replied.

My mother was a wise woman, and I believe there is a lesson we can learn from her. Work is essential for the growth, maturity and mental stability of man.

In today’s society, there are people who genuinely need help, because through no fault of their own, they are unable to provide for themselves. The welfare of this group should fall first upon their families and then the church and then the state.

In Jamestown in 1608, a large percentage of colonists who came to the New World for fame, fortune and adventure were considered gentlemen and refused to perform manual labor. They expected the small group of laborers to provide for their needs.

Many starved within the settlement, with too few workers toiling for too many. Capt. John Smith was promoted to head of the Jamestown colony. One of his first edicts was this: “If you don’t work, you don’t eat.”

In biblical times, landowners would leave the corners of their fields unharvested, allowing the poor and needy to glean the fields for their daily sustenance. This society did help the poor, but in a way that required them to work.

Today in America, there needs to be a safety net for those who cannot care for themselves. But I do not believe in the socialist direction our country is heading., where what is taken by force from those who are the most productive is then given to those who do not produce.,

Learning from historical failures, let us not make the same mistakes, robbing present and future generations of their dignity.

There is an old saying: “Idle hands are the devil’s workshop.”

“We gave you this rule: If a man will not work, he shall not eat.” 2 Thessalonians 3:10.