Let’s Do It! – Part 1
“For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example. We were not idle when we were with you…” (2 Thessalonians 3:7 NIV)
The apostle Paul was a tentmaker by trade, and although he states that those who preach the gospel have the right of support from those being ministered to, he says in his letter to the Thessalonians that he and his companions chose instead to work hard among them in order to provide a model for the believers. He was warning them against idleness, saying, “We were not idle when we were with you, nor did we eat anyone’s food without paying for it. On the contrary, we worked night and day, laboring and toiling so that we would not be a burden to any of you.” He was saying, “I worked hard, and you should follow my example.”
Labor is part of life. God created the world in six days and he rested on the seventh day. The Old Covenant says that we too should work six days and rest on the seventh; and here in the New Testament, we have a model in Paul of someone who worked hard, not only to share the gospel and strengthen the churches that had already been established, but who also worked with his hands when necessary in order to support himself. Everywhere in the Bible, we have the example of people working hard. While acknowledging that it is God that has to do the work when we do ministry, the apostle Paul still boasted that he worked harder than all the other apostles!
The point is that God never blesses laziness. Social services and public assistance are godly institutions set up for people in need who may be unable to work hard because of disabilities or extenuating circumstances. But we all know that whatever necessary system of support is set up, there are always people ready to scam the system. That should not be mentioned among us as Christians. Scamming a system in order to avoid doing our due diligence is not a godly thing to do. On the contrary, if we have a job, we need to work hard at it, whether or not the boss is watching; God is watching.
To be continued…
Read 2 Thessalonians 3:6-9.