Christians must be constantly vigilant that they do not think as the enemies of the cross do. As the old song says, the devil has been busy in our backyard. Next time you stop into a Chipotle Mexican Grill for a burrito, your meal may come in something unexpected: A bag with a message that can be described fittingly as anti-work propaganda. On the bag, which I saw earlier this week, is a quotation from recent New York Times bestselling writer George Saunders. His “bag message”1 is this:
“Hope that, in future, all is well, everyone eats free, no one must work, all just sit around feeling love for one another.”2
Each thing for which Saunders hopes, other than that “all is well,” is something for which a Christian must not hope. In fact, the Christian must hope that each of these things does not come to pass. Consider each of them in turn:
Hope that … everyone eats free. The Bible teaches that, in general, families should not eat free. Rather, the man as breadwinner should work to earn food for his family. Paul writes: “For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat” (2 Thessalonians 3:10; cf. Titus 2:4-5). In fact, it is impossible for everyone to eat for free. (Where would food come from if no one worked in order to grow, harvest, and prepare it?)
Hope that … no one must work. Again, this is a purely anti-biblical message. The Bible teaches that work is good for us. Consider the following passages:
- Exodus 35:12. Six days work shall be done, but on the seventh day you shall have a Sabbath of solemn rest, holy to the Lord.
- Proverbs 14:23. In all toil there is profit, but mere talk tends only to poverty.
- Ephesians 4:28. Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need.
- 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12. [A]spire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you, so that you may live properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one.
I cannot help but wonder whether the folks at Chipotle who are promoting Saunders’ message have considered that Chipotle restaurants would not exist were it not for the hard work of many people. I wonder whether the Chipotle bosses tell their employees to work less because to be lazy is in keeping with the Saunders’ vision of the ideal world.
Hope that … all just sit around feeling love for one another. When a Christian loves someone else, he does not “just sit around feeling love.” He acts altruistically on behalf of the object of his love (James 1:22). The apostle John wrote, “Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth” (1 John 3:18). People need us to express our love to them, not to simply think happy thoughts. The most significant way in which we can express our love is by sharing the gospel of peace (Ephesians 6:15).
Perhaps the next Chipotle advertisement I see will be more in keeping with biblical values and with the average American’s perspective on work and life.
Image from http://cultivatingthought.com/author/george-saunders/. ↩