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There are many reasons why one ought to despise socialism. It is institutionalized idolatry, first of all. Any state that claims to own the fruit of my labor is of necessity claiming to be god. And any citizen who asks the state to provide his or her daily bread has acquiesced to that idolatry. Also, socialism is institutionalized theft. The state claims ownership over the fruit of my labor, that which, in God’s eyes, proximately belongs to me.

These reasons, however, while valid, do not get to the heart of the issue. There are all kinds of idolatries, and God is quite capable of toppling all pretenders. As for the theft, the fruit of my labor only proximately belongs to me. It actually all belongs to God. If He chooses to ordain that the state should mug me, then He may do so.

There is, however, a third problem. Socialism destroys men’s souls. As I write, I am in the former Soviet Union. I sit in the former Leningrad, now once more Saint Petersburg. I am grateful not only for the ordinary grace of electricity so that I can write this article on my computer, but for the extraordinary grace that the electricity has remained steady. I am in the lovely home of Blake Purcell, the senior missionary in Russia and the founder of Reformed Seminary of Saint Petersburg. But one need only step outside to see the degradation wrought by 74 years of the workers’ paradise. Not only are the roads, the street-lights, the cars and the storefronts broken, but so are too many of the men.

Because man was made for work, and because man was made to enjoy the fruit of his own labor, the destruction wrought by a state run amok is not ultimately destruction of the economy but destruction of men. Man was made for work, and whether we work and have the fruit thereof stolen from us, or refuse to work and eat of the fruit of another, socialism attacks man at the very core of his being.

I am grateful for the comparative freedom I enjoy in the United States. But I am more grateful for the work that God has given me to do. When we remember that work is a gift from God, then we are better able to labor coram Deo, before the face of God. May we do so with joyful hearts. May we do so as men and women, made in His image. And may we eat in peace of the fruit of our hands.

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Tabletalk is a monthly magazine dedicated to helping you grow in Christ. With articles from pastors, scholars, and teachers, every issue of Tabletalk focuses on something different. Each issue contains feature articles, daily Bible studies, and columns touching on biblical, theological, and practical themes to help strengthen and encourage you in your faith.

From the May 2024 Issue
May 2024 Issue