Should We Work?

There are several reasons to work: to provide for yourself and your family, to do good for the world, and to give God Glory. Whatever kind of work we do, as Christians, our work should always be done well. As we near the end of this earth as we know it, there are some who believe that we (followers of Christ) can just sit back and wait for Jesus to return. Don’t fall for it! Paul gave very specific instructions on this.

“Yet we hear that some of you are living idle lives, refusing to work and meddling in other people’s business. We command such people and urge them in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and work to earn their own living. As for the rest of you, dear brothers and sisters, never get tired of doing good. Even while we were with you, we gave you this command: “Those unwilling to work will not get to eat.”

2 Thessalonians 3:110-‬13 NLT

https://bible.com/bible/116/2th.3.10-13.NLT

There were people in the church in Thessalonica who had become undisciplined and were not working, and instead, were being busybodies and stirring up trouble. All sin being equal,  then being a gossip or meddlesome is no better than being murderers and thieves! At the time Paul was writing this, Greek philosophy was prevalent in this society. The thoughts of Aristotle and Plato and the immaterial v. the material world. “Work” was for slaves, and the leisure life was for slave owners and those who could pay others to do their work. There was also the erroneous belief that the world was about to end anyway, so why bother working? Paul makes a point to remind them how he supported himself while he was with them, and he was very clear that if a person was able bodied and hungry, don’t give them food, give them work!

“For you know that you ought to imitate us. We were not idle when we were with you. We never accepted food from anyone without paying for it. We worked hard day and night so we would not be a burden to any of you. We certainly had the right to ask you to feed us, but we wanted to give you an example to follow.”
2 Thessalonians 3:7‭-‬9 NLT

https://bible.com/bible/116/2th.3.7-9.NLT

Paul’s example is of servant leaders who labor for the good of others. He practiced what he preached. When our motivation is to give God Glory, work is not a burden. He also wrote this to the Colossians about work.

“Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.”
Colossians 3:23 NLT

https://bible.com/bible/116/col.3.23.NLT

Paul has couched this letter in no uncertain terms: he starts in verse 6 with the word command. These are his (our) “brothers and sisters”, fellow Christians, the people who make up the church. Those among them (us) who defy this instruction are not to be associated with, but are to be warned. Shamed, NOT shaming. The goal is always restoration to fellowship and the LORD’S table.

“And now, dear brothers and sisters, we give you this command in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ: Stay away from all believers who live idle lives and don’t follow the tradition they received from us. ….. Take note of those who refuse to obey what we say in this letter. Stay away from them so they will be ashamed. Don’t think of them as enemies, but warn them as you would a brother or sister.”
2 Thessalonians 3:6‭, ‬14‭-‬15 NLT

https://bible.com/bible/116/2th.3.6-15.NLT

Many thanks to Pastor Jay Risner of Faith Bible in Edmond Oklahoma for his sermon “A Busy Body or Busybodies “.

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