Threading the Eye of a Needle
Written by Agent B : July 17, 2008
For years I have pondered what following Jesus meant, because somehow, just attending the Sunday morning social club didn’t seem to be it for me. The social club can have some good aspects on occasion, like being with people and so forth. But in the end, all the stuff we read and studied on Jesus in our club meetings didn’t seem to reflect the actual lives we were living. Or at least, my actual life.
Examples have been pondered by many. Things like, if Jesus taught us to give our entire life, why do we only give a fraction (ie: money or tithe)? And why is that fraction given to a church or non-prof for them to decide how injustice can be alleviated with those pennies? Why are North American Christians encouraged to give the fraction while maintaining a status quo life at home and throughout their community?
Many wealthy business people are on the influential boards of ministries and non-profs that benefit the poor. I always thought that was funny…that we look up to those who do well making money for our leadership. Maybe these boards should be made up of people who benefit or once benefited from that very non-prof. But that’s an entirely different subject.
The other day I thought: what would it be like if the influential business people who governed these non-profs left their board positions and channeled their benevolent, injustice-altering energies into other avenues? Like perhaps within their daily sphere of influence and expertise.
The fair mother city (that is, the town of my dwelling - Abilene, TX) has one of the lowest pay rates for the average worker (fifth lowest in the state of Texas out of 20+ cities. The first four lowest are border towns). My conspiracy theory about Abilene’s pathetic wages is that church-going Christians owned the majority of local businesses. And often, local Christians have a bad reputation of being tight-wads. Ask any local wait-person what the worst shift to work is: Sunday lunch. The church crowd is notoriously lousy tippers with high demands. Sad, but true.
So the other day, I thought: what if these local business owners who happened to be church goers started paying their workers better wages with actual benefits (like health coverage for crying out loud). I think that would be better use of their Christ-likeness as opposed to calling the shots at some agency to the poor, where they are comfortably insulated from the actual lives they try to serve.
You might respond: “Oh, but B…you don’t understand how small business works.” Yeah, I understand how it works, man. Pay yourself better than your employees. Live on the nice side of town, take time off for high-dollar vacations, buy your kids nice Christmas toys, and buy your family health insurance while your workers make $8 an hour with no benefits. Somehow, I don’t think that’s very Christ-like.
Take note, I am not accusing business owners in order to judge and point fingers. I am, in fact, asking myself these questions these days as I ponder my own future ventures that could employ others.
So, would I have the right to earn and live far better than those who work for and along side me? I don’t know.
Jesus taught that the Lord provides and in a roundabout way, we have no rights.
Maybe that’s why he got killed.
Author Bio:: Agent B, his wife and children live and operate as faith-based, self-supported undercover missionaries embedded within the poverty culture of Abilene, Texas.
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for further reading . . .
- Unusual Politics: With or Without the Church?
- Fighting With Forks: The Food Crisis Battle
- There’s an upside to economic disaster
- Identity in poverty - blessed are the poor in spirit
- group of white men around the age of 30 challenge “everything”
- go as poor among the poor…
- Not as much as I do (A response to Chad Ellens)