Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Industry, Proprietorship, and Entitlement: Dt 23:24-25

When you enter your neighbor's vineyard, then you may eat grapes until you are fully satisfied, but you shall not put any in your basket. When you enter your neighbor's standing grain, then you may pluck the heads with your hand, but you shall not wield a sickle in your neighbor's standing grain." (Deuteronomy 23:24-25)
This scripture deals with three aspects of personal property.

Industry: A person's industry is to be rewarded. One who applies himself to the formation of wealth had the right to the fruits of such pursuits. In this case, those who apply their efforts to tilling and farming the land. Those who work do so in hope of a profit and are deserving of their rewards. "Who plants a vineyard and does not eat the fruit of it? Or who tends a flock and does not use the milk of the flock? Because the plowman ought to plow in hope, and the thresher to thresh in hope of sharing the crops." (1 Corinthians 9:7, 10)

Proprietorship: While one may be the proprietor of his own wealth, it is the Lord who gives the increase. All that we have, including the strength to create wealth, comes from God. The law allowing a neighbor to eat from another's field as they pass through is, in part, to remind us that before anything became ours, it was first God's. Since God gave us the land and its increase, He has also the right to give it to others for their use, enjoyment, and satisfaction. We must not hold on so tight to our possessions that we forget to be charitable and generous to others. "The earth is the Lord's, and all it contains, the world, and those who dwell in it." (Psalms 24:1)

Entitlement: No one has the right to presume or intrude upon another's wealth. He who works is entitled to the increase of his labors and the rewards of his industry belong to him. We do not have the right, or entitlement, to another's wealth for which we have not labored. The world and our society does not owe us its wealth, nor are we entitled to its riches, except to the degree to which we apply ourselves in labors, efforts, and industry. "For even when we were with you, we used to give you this order: if anyone is not willing to work, then he is not to eat, either." (2 Thessalonians 3:10)

David Robison

, , , , ,

Powered by ScribeFire.

1 comment:

  1. I am always amazed at how the laws of the OT apply even today!