Christian social ethics is vitally concerned to bring its insights to bear upon two of the major problems confronting the American nation today, poverty and unemployment. In a day in which it seems inevitable that the full powers of government will be exerted directly upon these problems, it seems also desirable that some relevant principles of the Christian Revelation be pondered as solutions are considered.

Thanks to modern journalism, the pockets of poverty in our land are being exposed to the light of day. That one-sixth of our population is compelled to subsist upon a wage insufficient to provide adequate shelter and diet, much less a suitable education for the young, ought to lie heavily upon the hearts of us all.

Likewise, the problem of unemployment ought to disturb the Christian conscience. Unemployment statistics alone do not, of course, afford an adequate picture of our national situation. It would be helpful if we could know how many of the five million listed as unemployed are idle simply because no work is to be had. But even without this information, it is clear that a sizable segment of our population is genuinely unemployed.

As the nation looks for alleviation of these distressing situations, one wonders whether the architects of our programs are taking into consideration some relevant biblical principles. Too seldom, for instance, do we hear emphasis on work as “given” to men, and on the fundamental stewardship of time-work. Creative labor seems as deeply rooted in the nature of things as is marriage. The Fourth Commandment clearly designates the “six days” as times for work.

In stating that labor is to be complemented by stated rest, few would insist that the Commandment specifies a ...

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