Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Is the Laborer Worthy of His Wage?

A comment on the last post has sparked my thinking. The comment introduced the idea that a ministerial work, or an effort designed to help others in some way, is somehow sullied when the worker offers others the chance to support the work.

This idea of payment always contaminating a charitable effort is held by many the world around so I'll address it a bit here. Also, it is very likely that many of us have been taught this by the narcissist. Let me peel the layers back a bit and give you another way to look at this.

The narcissist doesn't want to acknowledge the labor and intellect of others as being worthy of being compensated. They devalue us, dismiss us and steal our efforts because they can't stand the idea of having to thank us or praise us, least of all, pay us. We've been taught to think that if we ask for anything in return for our efforts then we've ruined those efforts. The narcissist demands of us servitude. All labor for the narcissist is to be without payment. Another word for that is slavery. So...for years, usually decades, we labor, we sweat, we bleed for the narcissist. To expect even a thank you is to make your efforts into dust and ashes. They will then spit on your efforts, denigrate them--and you along with them. Their selfish world view, where they are the deified center, is threatened when they are made to feel like you should be rewarded in some way for your efforts.

Because many of you are Christian, I'll point out that the narcissist's view described above is not supported by the Bible. When Christ commissioned the seventy disciples to spread the gospel He told them that whatever the people offered to them they were to accept because "the laborer is worthy of his wages". This is an explicit statement by Christ Himself which makes it clear that from God's perspective a ministry is not sullied by gifts of support.

Paul, missionary extraordinaire, quotes Christ's words in 1 Tim. 5:18 when explaining that "elders who rule well be counted worthy of double honor especially those who labor in the word and doctrine. For the Scripture says, 'You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain' and, 'the laborer is worthy of his wages'." He makes it plain that the people showed honor to their elders with material support. Therefore, one can state categorically that it is honorable to support a worthy ministry. The material support is a concrete expression of the people to the honorable efforts of the ministry, elder, etc. Paul quotes Deuteronomy 25:4 showing the people that the concept dated back to the earliest time of the organization of Israel's civil laws. Those laws were not man-made. They were given to Moses by God.

The system of tithing was re-instituted early in the organization of Israel as a nation. This was specifically for the support of the work of the spiritual leaders whose efforts would preclude them making a living in other ways. Prior to that, in the days of the patriarchs, the concept of tithing is seen by Abraham's gifts to Melchizedek showing that from the earliest history of man there was an awareness of God's expectation that His people show support for His spiritual leaders.

Far be it from me to put myself in the category of any of the above. I most certainly don't. But I do want to show that, from the view of the Bible "the laborer is worthy of his wages". The wages do not lessen the value or nobility of the person who labors.

I really rankle at the growing sentiment out there which acts like getting paid for one's efforts is somehow base or dishonorable. Nothing could be further from the truth. Why don't we get annoyed at people who get paid for doing nothing? Who sit with their hand out with no expectation that they should earn what they get? That seems like a truly dishonorable attitude and practice. 2 Thess. 3:10, "For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat."

Even in the most secular of contexts it is obvious that the "laborer is worthy of his wages". We don't expect someone to mow our lawn, wash our car, or remodel our bathroom sans wages. To deny even the most menial laborer of payment smacks of robbery at best, slavery at worst. America has been built on the concept that a man is worthy of his wages. The only real limits on success in this country are self-imposed because capitalism rewards ingenuity, motivation and elbow grease.

All this being said, I want to get back to little ol' me and this blog. People, do whatever you are moved to do. I have heretofore not given you the chance to express your support or gratitude in any tangible way. Now I have. It is purely voluntary. The chance that this blog will ever generate more than a few dollars is slim. I am not trying to make a living at this. As for what I will buy if I get more than two nickels to rub together? Likely books. I am a reader. My cat will get treats regardless of revenue from my blog. He is in no danger of losing weight. I will buy coffee regardless. I was just being light-hearted and a bit silly as a way to try to entertain you while I pointed out my Amazon widget. I haven't even asked ya'll to donate cold hard cash. I provided a way to show support that will not cost you a dime.

My next to the last thought is this: I refuse to treat you, my readers, like you are fragile little broken bits of humanity. Kid-glove treatment is not going to make you stronger. My blog is direct, frank and cuts through the crap. That is because no one gets stronger when they are not challenged to get outside their comfort zone. I'm not going to start kid-glove treatment now. I treat you like the adults you are. Life is way too short to stay in a place mentally and emotionally where one has the resilience of glass. Do not hand over your power to anyone like that.

2 Thess. 3:10, "For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat." The narcissist thinks they are worthy of support even though they do nothing. Yet, inconsistently, they think that you are not worthy of recognition for what you do for them. They can't even give you gratitude. Let's shuck the twisted world view of the narcissist and enjoy the worthy fruits of our labors without shame. If someone values your work enough to reward is honorable to accept it. There is no dishonor in voluntary giving...or receiving.


Anna Valerious said...

I'll be the first to comment on my post. How weird is that?

I want to thank the person who posted the comment on my last post this a.m. which I've responded to in this post. I really do appreciate knowing your reaction to my last post because it presented an opportunity to deal with yet another aspect of NPD, especially how having a MN parent can confuse our thinking on things. If you thought along the lines you expressed, then I assumed others might as well. So I really do enjoy the opportunity to deal this this thought process. I wasn't offended. Just stimulated to respond. Love ya, sista!

Anonymous said...

You just kill me, Anna! Well said....all said....Daaaannnngg! All I remember when I read your 'silly' post was "Whhhhaaatttt?"...and never did get hold of what my mixed feelings about it were! Too right. I think I landed right in the middle...and figured you were being just that. Presenting a 'human' element....some levity...something 'other' since we are delving into some deep waters. I'm so glad you addressed this and followed up with this post. Right on the money. No pun intended. Well, maybe that wasn't a pun....but one of those other fancy words I can never remember. Doesn't matter. Thanks....

Anna Valerious said...

Hey, thanks, krl, for letting me know you too had a mixed reaction and that my follow up post helped sort things out a bit. :o)

Anonymous said...

Anna - as a firm believer in the beauty of capitalism, I never once questioned your decision to place an Amazon widget on your blog. In fact, I've wondered more than once why you hadn't put up a "donate" button or at least a few AdSense ads.

What you're doing here is incredibly helpful, and I'm sure I'm not alone in believing you *absolutely deserve compensation for it.

As for the lightheartedness of the post, I fail to see why that's been at issue. Surely no one expects you to be serious all the time?

Anonymous said...

Well....just so ya know..I wouldn't have batted an eye about continuing to read your blog....nor would I have hesitated to clickclick that dealie to order a book. I'm just thought I missed something and was scrambling and searching the last post to see if I didn't read something right. Thought I might be a little 'dense'....and it wouldn't be the first time!

Anonymous said...

I'm concerned about the google ad on the left of the main page called Cure for Narcissism. I find the web site to be troubling. Anyone know anything about this or have comments?

Anonymous said...

Some quick thoughts on commerce and the idea of "safety" brought up in the last comments. Commerce and safety are not mutually exclusive. The idea of someone getting some financial compensation for information about abuse is completely neutral; it is not unsafe or wrong in any way in and of itself. Of course, there are many examples of people exploiting persons in need for unscrupulous gain. There are many "self help" websites that are thinly disguised informercials for expensive products or services. There are also legit self help websites that offer free information as well as simultaneously clearly also being for profit business offering services like professional counseling. And on popular blogs by individuals, revenue generating ads are common, as are options to donate towards operating expenses via paypal, and deals like this one with amazon and other retailers. [Hey, ever thought of a line of "N's sucks" tee shirts from Cafe Press?]

I am continually impressed and humbled by the fact that so many bloggers and website makers out there put massive amounts of free information on the web for the benefit of complete strangers, with no compensation save an option for voluntary donations or some ad revenue to help towards the expenses. Even when blogs take in some money, in terms of time spent for return, most blogs remain what they started as: a labor of love that we as readers should not take for granted.

Making money is not exploitation, being deceptive about money is exploitation. Deception about money is about hidden costs, bait and switch, taking unfair advantage of a need, or using manipulation or coercion, etc. She has been upfront, clear, and disclosing exactly how it works and exactly what she would get out of it, down to the percent passed on by amazon. Most blogs in fact just put up the amazon link and don't even bother to explain it.

Ok, that was my 2¢.... and I hope someone buys that TV too!

Sister said...

You have completely misunderstood my comment.


jacqueline said...

Anna Again you put your finger right on it.. "The narcissist demands of us servitude. All labor for the narcissist is to be with out payment. Another word for that is slavery. So.. for years, usually decades, we labor, we sweat, we bleed for the narcissist..." Thankfully I'm beyond the shell-shock part of "recovery" from the N and therefore can exercise my choice to give, act, and be from a much more balanced, healthy sense of self. How liberating!! There is life beyond the narcissistic web!!
So, I raise my coffee mug to all in pursuit of true freedom!!

rys said...

I'm glad you put up the widget and wrote the post. You can tell what a person values by how they spend two finite resources: time and money. There is a large time investment that goes into this blog that helps many people, me included. I'm glad you brought it to our attention so when I'm thinking of buying an item there, I can give back and show appreciation for your efforts.

Anonymous said...

I understood you, Sister....I can't say this for you....and I can barely find the articulation for myself....but I'll try.

You guys...Hey! Some of us are still trying to understand WHAT happened to us. WHY we react like we do. WHY our responses and reactions are like they are. Lots of days, I can't even get hold of my feelings, much less my thinking on any given subject. I don't have a handle on all the lingo and abbreviations and knowledge about this crap we called Life. I'm not whining....I'm not bitching....I'm not 'feeling sorry for myself'....I'm just plain peddlin' as fast as I can to 'catch up'. Some of 'catching up' is back-peddlin'....searching for personal context for what is being written. Many of you commenters are way ahead...very articulate...very knowledgeable....and VERY us in our healing. Many of us don't quite say what we mean...or ask what we mean..quite 'right'. We're struggling for articulation....(If we weren't even allowed to SAY things before...or question, why would we be great at it now?)

Personally? I don't give a rat's ass if you shoot me for not holding my mouth 'right'. Been there....all my life. But I KNOW WHAT I AM DRIVING AT. I WILL STUDY AND LEARN. I WILL LEARN TO ARTICULATE SOME DAY....and God sure as hell knows what I mean. That's why I'm not afraid to post comments....sure, I 'cringe' a little, thinking, "Oh Lordy, maybe I didn't read this thoroughly enough....maybe I didn't 'get it'..Maybe I'd better read it again." But, the reality is. This blog is my Lifeline (not discounting God) touch-base each and every day. No matter how 'stupid' I might feel or think. Do I LIKE some of the 'impatience' I read in the blog. Heck no. But I'm not here to have someone 'hold my hand'. I'm here to learn. My 'backwardness' isn't someone else's problem...but any validation of 'normal under the circumstances' sure doesn't hurt when I'm trying to get my equilibrium.

Anonymous said...

Can relate to KrL's response regarding "Labourer Worthy..." from Anna. All of us have been damaged and some of us are just beginning this healing process. We are extremely suspicious of others. We hope that we can trust, but it's a slower process for some than for others. I wasn't offended by Anna's kitty and coffee post. And, Anna, you are my "sister" in "narcissistic pain" and all of you sister or brother readers are too.

Patience with one another is the order of the day. My biggest fear is that I have subconsciously become like my mother and display narcissistic tendencies, keep asking my husband if I do, and so far it's a total negative. Am a lot like your reader Krl and I cannot always articulate what am feeling, nor put it in words sometimes. Was so accustomed to just stuff my responses down deep; with this site we finally feel the freedom to express without the critical eye of our beloved "looker". Have a nice day, and watch that caffeine intake!!

Anna Valerious said...

I hope that it can be seen that my post was in no way critical of the commenter. I made it clear that the comment "sparked my thinking". I dealt specifically with the narcissist's thinking and world view. I was not criticizing the commenter's perspective or choice of words. I was dealing with how N's may influence us to think on a specific topic. I then did specifically thank the commenter for her comment because I truly appreciated her expressing her opinion. Let's be fair. Neither myself, nor the other commenters, are picking on or being impatient with anyone. Please don't personalize what wasn't being made personal. I was dealing with a concept, not pushing down someone's right to express themselves.

Anna Valerious said...

P.S. As much as it pains me, I have strict limits on my caffeine intake. I wish I could tipple the java all day long. Alas, I drink two cups in the morning. Period. On a rare occasion, I may have an afternoon cup. But it is rare. I value a good night's any caffeine after 3:00 p.m. runs the real risk of disturbing my *cough* beauty sleep. I'm bein' good. Honest.