Jobs for humans are becoming scarce and what can and should be done about?

Jerry 2017 Reunion (5)

The benefits that capitalism has provided to mankind has been well documented. Yet its shortcomings have been acknowledged as well, especially since it is increasingly recognized that good-paying jobs can no longer be expected. Fewer and fewer people are reaping ever higher rewards, and the vast majority of the people are suffering loss of rewards. For the vast number of Americans, at least, that grand factor, the American Dream is not a real expectation for those who are now starting their life’s work. In fact, increasingly there are no “good” jobs for humans. Robots and other forms of automation have rendered mankind obsolete in a growing sphere of economic activity, except as consumer.

The traditional responses to such a situation usually involve, to a greater or lesser degree, more education and training, revising the structure and understanding of the various economic models, capitalism, socialism, Marxism, etc. and of course an increasing number of government programs, through direct subsidy or through a system of incentives designed to synchronize the elements of the economic system to their desired end.

However noble or well-designed and well-executed such efforts may be, the results fall far short. Well-paying jobs are a thing of he past. Subsistence rather than the American Dream is a far greater expectation than ever before.

We can and do lament this reality as tragic. It should not be, or rather it should not have been. Indeed there was a time when it wasn’t: before the Woman’s encounter with that crafty serpent of old. When Adam and the Woman exercised their freedom of choice contrary to God’s revealed will they and the creation over which God had given Adam dominion were made subject to death in all its expressions and iterations. Indeed, the longer mankind and the cosmos are in the grip of death, death will increase both in intensity and extensiveness. That there are any jobs at all should elicit surprise and inspire gratitude to God.

However that may be, how should one plan for his or her economic of financial future? What comes to mind is not unusual for a Christian, yet it is radical, especially considering the decrepit state of American Christianity. The relevant question that arises in one form or another is this: Will I have enough food, drink and clothing that I need to survive in this world?

Immediately the Lord Jesus Christ provides us with the answer:

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? 28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. (Mat 6.25-34, ESV).

That the Lord’s concern about our economic well-being is a priority for Him is that He makes it the first petition in the Lord’s Prayer: “Give us this day our daily bread.” (Mat 6.11, ESV)

The Biblical message is that everyone can be secure economically, provided they seek the kingdom of God and his righteousness. Instead of trying to loosen the grip that death has on the economic affairs of mankind by devising various schemes they hope will produce economic prosperity, people should devote themselves to become full time disciples of Jesus Christ.

The premise of our discussion to this point is that jobs that will provide a lifetime of financial prosperity and a generous retirement are all but gone. But right there we encounter the real issue: the accumulation of wealth, treasure, if you will. Contrary to God’s judgment on Adam and the entire creation, man still attempts to secure for himself a life that is not impacted by the death sentence that God rendered.

It’s both interesting and instructive to consider what the Bible says about treasure:

19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Mat 6.19-21, ESV)

16 And behold, a man came up to him, saying, “Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?” 17 And he said to him, “Why do you ask me about what is good? There is only one who is good. If you would enter life, keep the commandments.” 18 He said to him, “Which ones?” And Jesus said, “You shall not murder, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, 19 Honor your father and mother, and, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 20 The young man said to him, “All these I have kept. What do I still lack?” 21 Jesus said to him, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” 22 When the young man heard this he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions. (Mat 19.16-21, ESV)

There is much more that can and should be said about this topic, but for now may the following suffice:

6 But godliness with contentment is great gain, 7 for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. 8 But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. 9 But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.” (1 Tim 6.6-10, ESV)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Voices, Choices

A mountain of rubble,
so stunning, surreal,
cries of vengeance
sorrow never more real.

The giant twins down,
3,000 dead, alone;
surely just recompense
could rightly atone.

The American emperor,
standing as lord,
shouted, “They’ll hear
from us soon!”
We were all in accord.

The “War on Terror
was then begun.
More death and destruction –
War ‘n’ Terror has won!


His voice was still
and so very small
(1 Kings 19:12),
it could hardly
be heard, if even at all
(Matt. 12:19).

Vengeance is mine,
he says, I will repay
(Deut. 32:35, Rom. 12:19, Heb.10:30).
Love your enemies,
for these do pray
(Matt. 5:44).

Peacemakers are blessed,
are sons just like me
(Matt. 5:9),
God’s house is their home;
they’ll be there with me
(John 14:1-3).


(So many voices,
demanding their due,
which to consider,
which to pursue?)

Those whose ears hear,
this is their choice
(Matt. 13:9),
for those are they
who hear his voice
(John 10:1-5, Rev. 13:8-10).

From a Father’s Heart

On November 1, 2014, my wife and I gave our daughter away in marriage. It was and continues to be a momentous and blessed occasion for us. What follows are the words I spoke just prior to the pastor’s introduction of Jennifer and Paul as husband and wife, and I believe, explain in part why we are so blessed.

Jennifer and Me


Wow!

This has been an amazing year for us. For the better part of the last 46 years, it’s been, “If my papa can’t do it, no one can.” This year we’ve progressed to, “If my papa can’t do it, my man can.”

In fact it’s better than that: what Jennifer’s papa can do her man can do better. In the last few months, Paul has done more things around our house than I have in the last decade. But I’ve discovered his secret: it’s silicone. Silicone when properly applied is like love, it covers a multitude of sins and defects. And there’s no one better at finding applications for silicone and applying it than Paul, Jennifer’s handyman, her silicone-man.

The Bible says, “Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.

It was no secret that Jennifer liked boys and, as she matured into adulthood, that she wanted to be married and have a family. But not just anyone would do. She wanted a man of God as her husband. And this is what she prayed for. And as the months turned into years and the years to decades, she perfected the image of her man of God. By the time that a quarter of a century had expired and her papa had gone from dapper to doddering, the list of features that her man of God would have and those that he would not have had grown considerably.

Judy and I have marveled that when Jennifer’s dear friends, Melissa, Rachel, Melody, Shannon, Jammie and Michelle and her very dear cousin, Jill, were getting married and forming families, Jennifer always rejoiced in their blessings and never complained that this particular blessing had not been granted to her. And when her two brothers, one older and one younger than her, were married she wholeheartedly rejoiced in their good fortune and delighted herself in their children.

Folks we’re talking about 25 years, a quarter of a century! That’s a lot of water under the bridge. What was happening all of that time? Obviously we don’t know the whole story, but we may have an insight into just one small aspect of it: Jennifer’s long list of man of God attributes. You may have noticed as I have that God talks to himself, especially when he has to deal with strong-willed people. Now it probably didn’t happen this way, but I can imagine God saying to himself, “what are we going to do with this chick and this perfectly good man of God we are preparing for her, but who doesn’t conform to her specifications?”

Fortunately, we know that as a believer lives out his or her relationship with Jesus Christ, that God is continually at work in him or her to will and do His good pleasure. And so it was and is with Jennifer. A number of months ago, Jennifer called Judy to say that she was impressed that God wanted her to prune her list of man of God attributes. Before her change of heart, facial hair and tattoos were not acceptable, but now they were. Shortly after that Jennifer called Judy and excitedly exclaimed that a man had walked up her sidewalk, armed with a bouquet of flowers. Folks, I am happy to announce that this is the man who stands before us today, approved of by both God and Jennifer, complete with a beard on his face and a tattoo of a cross on each arm.

Forty days after his birth, Joseph and Mary brought Jesus to the temple to participate in a redemption rite according to the law of Moses. There they were greeted by Simeon, who Luke describes as a just and devout man. The Bible says that the Holy Spirit had assured Simeon that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. Upon seeing the infant Jesus, he took him in his arms and said:

“Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel.”

Jennifer has always treasured her family. And she has been especially close and caring for Judy and me, her mom and dad. In that Jennifer was not yet married, we were increasingly troubled to think that someday when Judy and I would depart that we would be leaving Jennifer alone. Now friends and family, today our hearts are full and content. When the day of our homegoing arrives we can, like Simeon, depart in peace, knowing that our precious Jennifer will not be alone: she will be comforted and cared for by a man who loves both Jesus and Jennifer, her new husband, and our beloved son-in-love, Paul Millan.

Please join your hearts with mine as I pray for Paul and Jennifer.

How can we say thanks, Lord, for the things you have done? Things so undeserved, yet you have given to show your great love for us. You have found Jennifer and Paul on the broken road and because they have each said yes to you there, they have been able to say yes to each other here, today. Paul and Jennifer have adopted as their own your desire to be seen in them. This is the cry of their hearts.

Lord, let their life as it unfolds together be an on-going series of before and after portraits, each succeeding portrait exhibiting a greater manifestation of your ineffable character. As this happens it will indeed be a glorious unfolding, for you will be seen in them. I praise and thank you Lord for all you have done and for all that Paul and Jennifer hope to be. Glorify yourself, Lord.

This I ask in the precious name of Jesus, amen.


A Postscript:

I was gratified by how well my words were received, especially by Jennifer and Paul, although Jennifer did ask in jest (I hope!), “What kind of a father roasts his daughter at her wedding?”

Jennifer being roasted by her father.

Is Jennifer being roasted by her father at her wedding?