What Is a Job?

by Dr. Rick FlandersHelp Wanted.small

“And about the eleventh hour he went out, and found others standing idle, and saith unto them, Why stand ye here all the day idle?  They say unto him, Because no man hath hired us.  He saith unto them, Go ye also into the vineyard: and whatsoever is right, that shall ye receive.”

(Matthew 20:6-7)

The number-one issue for the election of 2012, and a major concern among Americans for many reasons, we are told, is the need for jobs.  Unruly protesters in the public squares and financial districts of many big cities have been gathering daily to denounce what they call “income disparity” and to demand that somebody in power provide them with jobs.  The great shortage of available good-paying jobs is being blamed on “corporate greed” by the radical left and on the government by the vocal right.  Capitalism is being characterized both as the enemy and as the source of these coveted jobs.  And yet with all the talk about “jobs,” it seems that many of those who want them don’t even know what a job is!  But neither job-creation nor the definition of a job is complicated.  It’s very simple.

The emergence of a job begins with an individual or a group of people who figure out a way to make money.  It is an idea that involves providing a service or a product that folks will need or want, and are willing to pay for.  Putting this idea into action will involve both risk and usually sacrifice.  It will take money.  But the individual or group does the work, makes the sacrifice, and takes the risks to turn the idea into a business.  Often, the creators of this idea discover that they need help in implementing it.  So they offer to pay people to help them provide the service or produce the product.  When somebody is hired to help others make money, and thus makes money for himself, his employment is called a “job.”  And if you don’t make money (and everyone needs money to live) by starting a business, you need to get a job from somebody who does.

In this very simple explanation of a job, it is important that we define our terms correctly.  Business is rightly understood as people “engaged in the trade of goods, services, or both to consumers.”  The term comes from the concept of being “busy” at profitable work.  It is activity, busy-ness.  A corporation or a company is a group of people engaged in profitable activity.  The word “corporation” comes from the Latin corpus, which means “a body.”  The term “entrepreneur” comes from French and is related to the operation of some “enterprise.”  It refers to an individual engaged in an enterprise to make a profit.  Jobs become available when an entrepreneur or a corporation seeking to make money hires people to help in the making of that profit.

In a real sense, jobs are created as a result of “corporate greed.”  If the profit motive is described as “greed,” and the people who get involved together in a plan to turn a profit are a corporation, then the hiring of others to help comes directly from corporate greed.  No entrepreneur or corporation creates jobs just to give people money.  Their work and planning and risk-taking and sacrifice for the enterprise are applied with the hope of making money.  This doesn’t mean or even imply that money-making is the focus  of these people’s whole lives, or that they are basically greedy.  It means that their involvement in business is for the purpose of generating money.  Everybody needs money, and business is the way it is normally made.  Either you formulate a plan to make money and work the plan, or you are hired by somebody who is engaged in such a profit-motivated enterprise.  Jobs are created and sought for the purpose of making money.

What the God of the Bible says about money is not unclear to those who care to know.  Money and efforts to get it are not wrong in themselves.  “Money answereth all things,” says Ecclesiastes 10:19.  Human life involves working to earn money in order to procure what living requires (the “cost of living”).  Jesus Christ made many references to money and the gaining of it in the illustrations He gave to explain the issues of life.  Read His parables about the householder hiring laborers in Matthew 20:1-16, and about the householder seeking to collect from the sharecroppers in Matthew 21:33-46, and about the servants entrusted with investing money for their boss in Matthew 25:14-28.  The Proverbs do not condemn the profit motive if it generates honest business activities (Look up Proverbs 8:20-21, 10:4, 15:6, and 22:4).  Working to make money is not a bad thing in the Bible, but having money, according to the scriptures, has only limited benefits.

“Riches profit not in the day of wrath: but righteousness delivereth from death.”

(Proverbs 11:4)

“A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favour rather than silver and gold.”

(Proverbs 22:1)

Of course, “the love of money is the root of all evil” is a truth taught not only in First Timothy 6:10, but all over the Bible.  To seek to be rich is to put oneself in moral and spiritual and even physical danger.  But to engage in an effort to make money to provide the needs and wants of you and your family is ethical and right according to Bible religion.

Strangely, the country seems to be exploding with angry protests both demanding jobs and demanding an end to the process that creates jobs!  Capitalism (as private wealth-creation is called) is being denounced and renounced.  The “haves” are being bullied to give what they “have” to the “have-nots.”  Of course, all of this rhetoric denies the right to private property and to the free use of private property for the purpose of making profits.  Though some may take Bible verses out of context to denounce capitalism and private property, the truth is that scripture defends them both.  Two of the Ten Commandments directly prohibit not only the taking of private property (stealing) but also wanting to have what belongs to somebody else (coveting).  Things belong naturally to the people who made them, bought them, received them as gifts, inherited them, or earned them.  God’s way in the Bible is for property to belong to people.

The Bible also commends charity.  Yet charity assumes the right of private property because it is exercised when a person gives what belongs to him to someone else who needs it.  Giving assumes ownership.

The material prosperity of the United States was built upon the acceptance of such Biblical and natural laws.  Unfortunately, most of those loudly cursing “Wall Street” are folks who reject the Bible and the God of the Bible as authoritative.  They seem to want the government to take money from the rich and give it to them.  This idea is neither compassionate nor just.  It is force, not fairness.  It is criminal, and it has nothing to do with jobs.  Even deficit-created government jobs are products of naked force, making taxpayers pay people to do things the market never demanded to be done.  Private job-creation, on the other hand, is all voluntary.  People buy things at prices they consider fair, and provide finances both for the corporations or entrepreneurs who make the things and for the folks they hire at wages they voluntarily accept.  It is free enterprise: free markets, free business, free offering and taking of jobs.  It is profitable, moral, and reasonable.

If by “corporate greed” the demonstrators mean criminal activity in the financial markets, let the criminals go to prison.  But if they mean the profit motive when they use the term, they are strangling the goose that gives the gold and provides the jobs.  It is apparent that many of them have bought the lie of socialism (which has been sold in America’s education system for years).  Socialism is not an alternative economic system to capitalism.  It is a delusion.  Socialism (in various forms) was the dream of intellectuals in the nineteenth century and the experiment of nations in the twentieth century.  In every case the experiment failed.  It is now the passion of its fanatical disciples in the twenty-first century, who insist on it although it failed every time it was tried and ruined the nations that tried it.   If the grungy mobs that have assembled in the city centers continue to act and talk out of ignorance, may the God-fearing multitudes not share in the ignorance they spread.  Let reason and scripture deliver us from the confusion and deception of these times.  Let men be free to use what is rightly their property to pursue their dreams, and fulfill what they see as God’s will for their lives.  When long-proven principles are applied, success and prosperity are always around the corner.

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