Today we will expose some more about the man that so many today idol without knowing his principles for life. It was a basic principle that he was so important in changing the world that it was the responsibility of others to support him. We see many following that principle today.
From the time Marx was banned from Europe. He and his family lived in London in the most extreme poverty. A peculiar combination of emotions was expressed by Marx in his correspondence during this period. On the one hand he expressed soulful concern for the welfare of his wife and children. He confessed that the “nocturnal tears and lamentations” of his wife were beyond endurance. Then he went on explaining how he was spending his whole time studying history, politics, economics and social problems so he could figure out answers to solve the world’s problems.
In 1852 his children started to die of neglect and starvation. First his little daughter, Francisca, died. Two years later his young son, Edgar, passed away, and finally a baby died shortly after birth. Mrs. Marx was amazingly loyal to her husband as she saw her half-fed children dying around her while their father spent days and nights in the British Museum library. She tells that one day she was sitting in their slum apartment when their landlady suddenly appeared. Since they could not pay a sum of five pounds owed for rent, almost instantly two brokers came into the house, and took possession of all their belongings…bedding, clothes, everything, even a baby’s cradle and their little girl’s toys. The children wept bitterly. She had to lie on the floor with the children in freezing conditions. With the help of one of their few friends they were able to pay their rent but had to sell the returned bed and bedding in order to settle accounts with the chemist, the baker, and the milkman. [Otto Ruhl, Karl Marx, Pages 202-204].
While Marx was trying to ‘correct’ the world’…his cohort Engels could no longer support him…he made a trip to Holland where a prosperous uncle generously handed him one hundred and sixty pounds. It was enough to put Marx back on his financial feet, pay off his debts, and give him a new start. Sounds like a loving act by his uncle. But with money in his pocket, Marx decided to take a tour of Germany. First he visited his mother in Treves and then went to Berlin where he undertook a number of drinking excursions with his old associates….generally playing the role of a gentleman of leisure. Two months later he returned home to his family in their slum dwelling. Frau Marx welcomed her ‘tourist’ husband thinking that now bills could be paid, clothing and furniture could be purchased, and a better apartment rented. She came to find out that practically nothing remained of the hundred and sixty pounds. Marx’s dedication to work and responsibility was at zero yet he was going to solve the problems of the world. The Bible discusses such an attitude.
Many people think of work as a kind of curse, something that has been imposed upon man because of the Fall. Actually, work is really a blessing, though we tend to forget that at times. The “flower children” of the sixties got the idea that work was something that they did not need and that a good living would somehow fall out of the sky. This is pretty much along the thought processes of Marx and the liberal socialist we tend with today. Many of these ‘liberated’ children dropped out of the rat race, moved out into the countryside, and tried to live without working. It seems that every age has its freeloaders who want to live off someone else’s work. Today it takes the form of those who are able to work but choose to not do so. Two thousand years ago the church in Thessalonica had a similar problem. Many there expected the Lord to come any day so they quit working so others could support them. Some were living in a quasi Christian commune, sharing what food was donated to them. Sort of like today’s ‘food pantry or bank’. The Apostle Paul heard about this situation and addressed the church about the situation.
Throughout the Scriptures believers are frequently instructed to share with others and to be sensitive to their needs. In the issue of the Thessalonian church Paul issued a stern word regarding “every brother who is idle”. [2 Thessalonians 3:6]. “Keep away” from them, he insists. “Have nothing to do with them. Leave them alone.” Even though this seemed harsh, Paul was on solid theological ground.
> A refusal to work is really a violation of Scripture. It is a command weighted with the full authority of Jesus Christ. “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord. In it you shall do no work…” [Exodus 20: 8-10].
> God ordained work before the fall of man. When Adam was created he was given a job to do right from the beginning. The Lord himself had said to the disciples: Put this money to work…until I come back” [Luke 19:13]. Work, then, is a part of what the Scriptures call the image of God in man. God is a worker. He has devised marvelous things in a universe that is filled with mysteries and marvels; intricate, involved complexities that we are only now beginning to unravel.
Not only were the Thessalonian believers to withdraw socially from Christian brothers who refused to work, but they were actually instructed to withhold food from them. Notice the distinction. It is not, “if any cannot work,” but, “if any will not work.” People who cannot work because they are physically impaired or because there is no work to do need our help. If we find out that some can work but do not choose to work, we should not even give them food. Not working when you are able is serious business Those who refuse to do so are not allowing themselves to be fulfilled in the way God intended. They are cheating others as well. How many food pantries and food banks are contributing to this problem?
The church has an important responsibility in this subject. Do not give up on the idle, they are really our brothers. Opening their eyes and thoughts may take some time. Do not evade a confrontation. If necessary ‘offend in a loving manner’. Do not just hope the problem will go away. Paul’s advice is to make ‘freeloaders’ feel ashamed of their actions, their dependence on others for food, and daily necessities. They are confused brothers who need help. Do not make them feel like enemies or even as though they are not Christians.
In the liberal/communist/progressive world such principles…Biblical as they may be…are repulsive and the source is worthy of destruction. This is a political enemy that the church cannot afford to ignore. Today we are seeing that socialist principles are being ‘bought’ more and more by our society and a ‘free this and a free that’ is being sold by some politicians to the eventual ruin of our nation. We can let God be in charge but only as the Commander-in-Chief and not as the foot soldier. That is the job of each Christian. When was the last time you heard a message from the pulpit that addressed ‘work’ and ‘personal responsibility’ in our society? We sure aren’t getting that message from most politicians in our government.
Next week we will continue the history of an irresponsible individual whose principles have done more damage to societies than probably any other person to live on earth. Even today his principles are having negative impacts on some churches.
“One of the consequences of such notions as ‘entitlements’ is that people who have contributed nothing to society feel that society owes them something, apparently just for being nice enough to grace us with their presence.” Thomas Sowell