A Biblical Solution to Unemployment?

Our government (and apparently just over 50% of the U.S. population) believes that the answer to the nation’s 7.9% unemployment rate is for the government to continue writing checks to those who are unemployed. This has done nothing to bring unemployment down over the last four years; but who knows, maybe it will magically change things in the near future. The problem, though, is that no sensible person believes in magic. So, we have to look for other alternatives. For the sake of argument, I am going to ignore the obvious solution: to allow businesses to operate freely and hire new employees as needed. In fact, I will go ahead and reveal that this article has very little to do with unemployment. My aim in this article is mostly to make what some might see as a controversial statement and then see what kind of response there is. So, let’s move on to the controversy.

We are looking for ways to lower the unemployment rate, and I think it is possible that the Bible offers a solution. I am rather ashamed to say that this solution did not even cross my mind until a recent conversation with a Muslim family. Having taught on Titus 2:5 on the air several months ago, this idea should have crossed my mind. If you know the reference, then you surely know where I am going. I guess I had never made the connection between the problem of high unemployment and what Paul says in Titus 2:5. Fortunately, someone else made the connection for me.

It was the Islamic holiday of Eid al-Adha, and we were visiting with a neighboring family. During the course of our discussion, the topic of unemployment came up; and the wife of the son of our neighbor made a simple yet, I think, biblical observation. She said, “If all the women in this country would stay home and raise their children instead of going out and working, there would be plenty of jobs for the men.” As the words came out of her mouth, my mind went directly to the words of Paul, saying that young women are to be “workers at home.” Had this young Muslim woman uncovered a biblical truth that has been increasingly ignored in the West and around the world? I think so.

Clearly, this is not a business solution to unemployment as it does nothing to create jobs but merely reduces the workforce. Regardless, I think it is possible that the workforce should be reduced, thus leaving enough work available for those who are biblically responsible for exercising dominion and providing for the family — namely, men. This is not to say that women cannot work. If you listened to my teaching on Titus 2:5, you would know that I believe it is biblically permissible for both men and women to work and earn an income. However, you would also know that I believe that one of the primary roles of a mother is to care for her children, which often times requires that she stay home. Just think of how different the world, and more importantly our churches, would be if parents with young children embraced their responsibilities and abandoned their desire for money, a desire that leads many families to send both parents out into the work place while leaving children to fend for themselves or in the care of someone else.

I do not care that much about the world, but I am very concerned for the church; and when I think of our families realigning their priorities with the biblical prescription, I see a much better picture than the one painted by our churches today. I see children being taught to fear the Lord and to obey his commandments, and I see parents not only embracing but rejoicing in their God-given roles. I see churches blossoming with maturity and the focus of our daily lives shifting from what we want to what God wants. Maybe the current unemployment rate is as it is in order to provide us with such an opportunity?

—J.N. Bolt

One thought on “A Biblical Solution to Unemployment?

  1. Mad Welshman

    Hi Mr. Bolt:
    I heartily concur with your theological observation in regards to the role of women. They should be “workers at home” and they should stay home with their children during their formative years.
    As an economist I have one observation on the “unemployment problem”. Unemployment would quite literally disappear overnight if the government would do two things: 1) Stop paying unemployment benefits and 2) Eliminate the minimum wage. Unemployment exists, economically speaking, because of government intervention in the marketplace. Remove the government and unemployment disappears.


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