Plain Truth Magazine
May 1966
Volume: Vol XXXI, No.5
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This surprising second installment uncovers the hidden causes of poverty. It explains why such a paradox as a "war on poverty" could occur in the world's richest nation. It makes plain how poverty will be eradicated from the earth.

   GOD Almighty put Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. He commanded Adam to "dress it and keep it" (Gen. 2:15).
   But today too many want to lie down on the job — want coffee or tea breaks. Want to work only 5 or 4 days a week, want to work 36 hours or less if possible.

God Intended Man to Work!

   Many have never realized that the fourth commandment not only enjoins the keeping of a rest day, but also commands man to "labor." "Six days shalt thou LABOR, and do all thy work" (Ex. 20:9).
   That part of the command is just as important as the part requiring man to rest on the day God made holy.
   The "spirit" or intent of this law shows that a man is normally expected to keep busily engaged during the first six days of the week.
   Not only is man commanded to labor, but he is told how he is to go about his work. "Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might" (Eccl. 9:10)! For God's Word reveals that there is no mental or physical activity at all — no knowledge, wisdom or work — in the grave where all mankind is headed.
   The apostle Paul commanded the Christian not to be "slothful in business" (Rom. 12:11). He further admonished: "but rather let him labor, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth" (Eph. 4:28). See also I Thessalonians 4:11, 12.
   Even in the days of the Apostles, "spongers," "shirkers" or "chiselers" were beginning to take advantage of some of the brethren. These "parasites" were loafing — not working and providing for their own households as they should. God, therefore, inspired the apostle Paul to give a stern warning: "If any [able-bodied individual] provide not for his own, and especially for those of his own house, he bath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel" (I Tim. 5:8).
   Notice how the apostle Paul dealt with lazy, shiftless idlers: "For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, NEITHER SHOULD HE EAT. For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies. Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread" (II Thess. 3:10-12).
   Henry Ford, noted car manufacturer and industrialist, recognized the usefulness of diligent work in stamping out poverty.
   In his introduction to his book, My Life and Work, Mr. Ford says: "There is no reason why a man who is willing to work should not be able to work and to receive the full value of his work. There is equally no reason why a man who can but will not work should not receive the full value of his services to the community... If he contributes nothing he should take nothing away. He (the sluggard) should have the freedom of starvation."
   Mr. Ford had no patience with ne'er-do-wells — people who were unwilling to work to earn their own way. He paid good wages (the highest in the auto industry) to his employees, but would not tolerate indolence!
   In Chapters 13, "Why Be Poor?" and 15, "Why Charity?" Mr. Ford made it very clear that people need not be poor — if they're willing to work. Neither do they need to rely on charity. He proved that even cripples, in most cases, could be trained for gainful employment.
   He said, "Charity never led to a settled state of affairs. The charitable system that does not aim to make itself unnecessary is not performing service... In a previous chapter I have set out how experiments in our shops have demonstrated that in sufficiently subdivided industry there are places which can be filled by the maimed, the halt and the blind... There are more places in subdivision industry that can be filled by blind men than there are blind men. There are more places that can be filled by cripples than there are cripples" (Chap. 15).
   Mr. Ford saw the permanent dole as a bad principle and a waste of money. He understood the principle of giving only to those truly in need. He did not believe charity should be poured into a rat hole to support the shiftless. When a person is given material assistance, it should always be with the idea of helping him to help himself. Any other type of giving is always destructive in the end!

Badly Needed Initiative

   Many people in America and Britain — as in the whole world — are poor simply because they are downright lazy! They lack initiative!
   The renowned American philosopher, Elbert Hubbard, understood the importance of initiative. He said: "The world bestows its big prizes, both in money and in honors, for one thing — and that is initiative. What is initiative? I'll tell you. It is doing the right thing without being told.
   "But next to doing the right thing without being told is to do it when you are told once...
   "Next, there are those who never do a thing until they are told twice: such get no honors and small pay.
   "Next, there are those who do the right thing only when Necessity kicks them from behind, and these get indifference instead of honors and a pittance for pay. This kind spends most of its time polishing a bench with a hard-luck story.
   "Then, still lower down in the scale than this, we find the fellow who will not do the right thing even when someone goes along to show him how, and stays to see that he does it: he is always out of a job, and receives the contempt he deserves, unless he has a rich Pa, in which case Destiny patiently waits round the corner with a stuffed club. To which class do you belong?" (Initiative, Elbert Hubbard)
   Another very interesting and profitable article on the subject of diligence was written by Elbert Hubbard. He had been a common laborer and also an employer of men. He wrote:
   "We have recently been hearing much maudlin sympathy expressed for the 'down-trodden denizens of the sweat-shop' and the 'homeless wanderer searching for honest employment,' and with it all often go many hard words for the men in power. Nothing is said about the employer who grows old before his time in a vain attempt to get frowsy ne'er-do-wells to do intelligent work; and his long, patient striving after 'help' that does nothing but loaf when his back is turned... In our pitying, let us drop a tear, too, for the men who are striving to carry on a great enterprise, whose working hours are not limited by the whistle, and whose hair is fast turning white through the struggle to hold in line dowdy indifference, slipshod imbecility, and the heartless ingratitude which, but for their enterprise would be both hungry and homeless. There is no excellence, per se, in poverty; rags are no recommendation; and all employers are not rapacious and high-handed, any more than all poor men are virtuous" (A Message to Garcia, Elbert Hubbard).

Unwise Spending — a Cause of Poverty!

   There is still another class of poor people. These people are impoverished — not because they don't diligently use their minds or their hands — but because they do not know how to use the blessings they've been given.
   Many do not know how to properly budget their incomes. They spend unwisely — far beyond their means!
   Even though a man uses his mind and his body, works hard and is very diligent, he will still forever be in financial straits — if he doesn't wisely use the blessings God permits him to have. The following Proverbs emphasize this:
   "He also that is slothful in his work is brother to him that is a great waster" (Prov. 18:9).
   He who spends too much on food, drink or pleasures will often have the creditor pounding on his door. "He that loveth pleasure shall be a poor man: he that loveth wine and oil shall not be rich" (Prov. 21:17). "For the drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty: and drowsiness shall clothe a man with rags" (Prov. 23:21).
   Such people, like the Prodigal Son, squander their substance with riotous living (Luke 15:13).
   They may earn more than they need, but never learn to properly budget their incomes. Such thriftless individuals never learn to live within their means — they don't cut their garment according to the cloth.
   Marital problems often have their origin, in large part, in financial difficulties. Untold mental anguish has resulted from poverty brought on by unwise spending. Many husbands and wives spend excessively on luxuries or on unnecessary items.
   And the sad part of it is that almost everyone living in the Western world could be reasonably prosperous — if they were diligent and if they wisely budgeted their incomes.
   Besides the causes of poverty already mentioned, there are numerous others: 1 — poor heredity, 2 — a wretched environment, 3 — ill-health and/or physical disability, 4 — oppression — from the rich, from the powerful, or even from the government — in the form of excessive taxes, 5 — over-population — in the world, nation, or in the family. (Unfortunately many sincere but misguided individuals oppose birth control!) 6 — catastrophes (often referred to as "acts of God") such as fire, flood, earthquakes, or storms.
   In almost every one of the above mentioned causes of financial adversity, the individual can overcome the effects of calamity — if he tries long and hard enough! (Our free booklet, The Seven Laws Of Success, will give further information on how to succeed in life)

Poverty — the Result of Sin!

   The real root cause of most financial adversity is... SIN — direct or indirect breaking of God's laws! Tithing is one of those laws which govern material prosperity.
   Notice how this was clearly emphasized by the inspired prophet Malachi, millenniums ago. "Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with a curse, for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation. Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a BLESSING, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the Lord of hosts. And all nations shall call you blessed: for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the Lord of hosts" (Mal. 3:8-12).
   Many people are under a curse simply because they do not obey their Creator God. God promises to bless and prosper those who diligently serve Him. He wants all to be blessed — to be in prosperity and health — and eventually to live forever and enjoy these blessings eternally! (Be sure and read our free booklet, Ending Your Financial Worries)
   Again, what are the real causes of poverty? There are many! But the main causes are: 1 — ignorance and superstition, 2 — laziness, 3 — wasteful squandering, 4 — the underlying, all-inclusive root cause — sin—disobedience to an all-wise Creator!
   Most of the nations on this earth continue to flagrantly transgress God's laws. Even in the Western world, professing Christians seem to think they can break God's laws with impunity. But they're wrong! The poverty and resultant suffering found throughout the whole world is always the direct or indirect result of broken laws.

Poverty Banished Worldwide

   When all nations begin to worship and serve the true God and keep His laws, then there will be happiness and prosperity for all. "The Great Society" will at last be realized.
   Yes, there is good news! Jesus Christ will soon return to this earth in awful power and dazzling splendor. He will teach the nations to obey God's laws. "For the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem" (Micah 4:2).
   Ignorance, superstition and illiteracy will yet be banished from the world. "For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea" (Habakkuk 2:14).
   At last, the peoples of the earth will be taught to diligently use their minds and hands — to work hard, to build — not to tear down and destroy! They will learn how to use their blessings — and to budget their incomes — not to squander them!
   And they shall be taught to faithfully pay a tenth of their incomes to their Creator God in thankful appreciation for His many blessings.
   The Bible reveals that President Johnson's "War on Poverty" will not succeed in banishing poverty from America!
   "The Great Society" will not be established in the U.S. during this age! Because human governments cannot abolish sin!
   In the very near future, however, God's "Great Society" will be established over the whole earth — during the millennial, Utopian rule of Jesus Christ (see Micah 4:1-4). For one thousand years, the nations will learn to use their energies in production, not in destruction — "they shall beat their swords into plowshares" (verse 3).
   "They shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; and none shall make them afraid..." (verse 4).
   Jesus Christ of Nazareth will finally remove the curse of poverty from this planet by removing the causes of poverty! When the nations are taught to love and diligently obey God and His perfect laws, then all sin — which is the real scourge of the world, the real CAUSE of poverty — will at last be banished from the earth!
   This is how the curse of poverty will be removed from this world.
   And this is how peace, happiness and prosperity for everyone will finally be established over the whole earth!

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Plain Truth MagazineMay 1966Vol XXXI, No.5