Faith without works is dead (James chapter 2). The two go together. Also, an education without work ethic is dead. “Get an education. Get an education.” Well, just showing up in a school doesn’t make you educated; some consistent effort is required.
And just getting through school at any level doesn’t make you employable. And just having a job doesn’t make your employer responsible for you meeting your bills. These things are worthless without a willingness to try hard and the presence of good work ethic.
People tell me sometimes that “just try harder” isn’t the answer to everything. But it kinda is. No, we can’t try our way to earning our salvation. But just like our salvation isn’t something that we deserve, there are a lot of other things in life we are misled to believe we are deserving of.
I know my wife sometimes questions my interest in politics. But my interest isn’t in politics at all. My interest is in people and what they believe. And alarms go off for me daily when I hear anything that steers people toward compromising their morals or their work ethic.
These things usually appear in the form of telling people what they want to hear or what they deserve or offering to provide a some sort of shortcut in life that brings instant gratification or justification of destructive behaviors.
No, the billionaires aren’t our enemies (as Bernie Sanders and company constantly decry). I don’t know any of them and I don’t know anyone who has been prevented from providing for themselves by them. For a government and talking heads to target the super-wealthy as villains and use manufactured useless terms like income inequality does nothing but stir envy. People are being fooled into becoming their own worst enemies.
I don’t know any super wealthy people. But I do know of a lot of people that grew up in post-depression America with the same thing everybody else had: nothing. And it was a nothing that was much less than our poorest people have these days. But they had work ethic (and sometimes little education) and certainly never thought they were entitled to anything. And some of those people worked while other people were resting, saved while others were spending, and risked while others played it safe. It’s amazing what people are capable of when their life isn’t full of guarantees. And the sum of those people’s work is the very reason that many of us are employed today.
No, they are not the enemies of the people , whether millionaires, billionaires, or comfortably retired. To tag these people as villains or to further soak them to fund a never-ending mass of government programs is just destructive. Can they afford to pay up a little more? Probably. But it comes at the expense of eroding liberty and personal responsibility. And envy grows under the surface. “They don’t deserve to have what they have. I deserve to have more than I have.”
Work ethic dies a silent death in the background.
Trying harder. Work ethic. Are those enough? Yes, they should be. Believe it or not, there are people all around, whose stories you will never hear, that have done quite well because of these simple things. People who maybe never finished high school, but managed to show up at their same job and do their best. And they did it day after day, year after year. No guarantees of a living wage and no talk of what they deserve. But their skills, their value to their employer, and their paycheck grew consistently over the years.
And maybe they didn’t ever become wealthy or live comfortably, but they didn’t buy what they didn’t need or envy what others had and didn’t spend what they didn’t have. And many of those people have gone to bed every night with the satisfaction of doing a job well in a house that they have managed to pay for in full.
Does our younger generation hear the stories of these people? No, of course they don’t. These stories place power in the hands of individuals. Instead, we are forced to hear stories of guarantees and government saviors. Young people mostly just hear about how they’re entitled to a “living wage”, the evils of the super rich, and the help they deserve.
Instead maybe everyone just needs to pound home the fact that people with terrible work ethic really should struggle in life…………and any system or policy in opposition of this is worth resisting.
So yeah, just try harder.