Is reopening the economy loving money? Does the lockdown prioritize health while reducing many to the poor house? Is the lockdown sinful? Is reopening the economy going after vanity fair?
You live in polarizing times. Times when you feel pulled one way or the other. You may feel pulled to one extreme or the other. You are pressured to choose either life or livelihood. Let’s look to God’s word together for some Biblical balance.
To set your expectations. This article will not offer cookie cutter answers. Rather, the goal is to bring some Biblical light into a difficult conversation. God’s word gives us direction not only for faith but also for life. God’s word gives us principles that should help frame the conversations we are having as a society. God’s word gives principles by which we can have balanced conversations, opinions, and make decisions.
The 10 Commandments
The Ten Commandments give us bedrock principles to live our lives by. We should go there for wisdom. The sixth commandment and the eighth commandment show that there is a balance that must be maintained.
The sixth commandment is, “You shall not murder.”
The eighth commandment is, “You shall not steal.”
The Westminster Shorter Catechism helps us understand these Commandments. It asks us, “What is required in the sixth commandment?” The answer is, “The sixth commandment requires all lawful endeavors to preserve our own life, and the life of others.”
There is an absolutely clear principle. Life. We must preserve life. We must use all lawful endeavors to preserve life.
Then there is the eighth commandment. The Westminster Shorter Catechism asks in question 75, "What is forbidden in the eighth commandment?” The answer is, “The eighth commandment forbids whatsoever does or may unjustly hinder our own or our neighbor’s wealth or outward estate.”
There is a clear principle here. Livelihood. We must protect and promote our own and our neighbor’s livelihood.
Seeking a Biblical balance:
We cannot pit life against livelihood. We cannot say, “If you care about life you don't care about livelihood.” Nor can one say, “If you care about livelihood you must not care about life.”
Christians must hold both of these together in Biblical balance. Without livelihood one cannot live life. Without preserving life one robs another of their livelihood. We must hold these two in balance.
There is most likely no cut-and-dry answer. It is unwise for us to demand a cookie-cutter solution to our present situation. We need to ask God for wisdom.
We need to plead with God to show us how to live in a way that prioritizes both life and livelihood. It is imperative that we keep these two Biblical principles in balance.
Questions to reflect on:
Are you a voice towards this balance?
Christ taught us to love our neighbor as ourselves. If we are to keep the second greatest commandment (the second table of the law), we must strive to live with one another in a loving and understanding way. In the present crisis how have you kept Jesus’ imperatives?
Have you prayed for your government officials to have wisdom? Have you prayed for the elders in your church to have wisdom? Have you asked God for wisdom in your own life?
It is of the utmost importance that we maintain a Biblical balance. In our polarized time you might feel pulled to one extreme or the other. As Christians we must keep both of these priorities, life and livelihood, in Biblical balance.