Now the apostle applies this truth to a specific case.
For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example. 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. We did this, not because we do not have the right to such help, but in order to make ourselves a model for you to follow. For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: “If a man will not work, he shall not eat.”
2 Thessalonians 3:7-10
If you remember, at the beginning of this letter, Paul had to set some things back in order. The church was confused because of prophecies telling them Christ had already returned.
Because of this false teaching, there must have been some who had stopped working at their jobs in order to “wait for the Lord’s appearing.” These people then went around expecting other Christians to provide for them while they waited.
Paul made it clear that there was no job description that had you do nothing while others took care of your needs. Please understand that I’m not talking about those who are unable to work, or have lost their jobs and are in the process of seeking a new one.
Because this was a young church, Paul modeled this lifestyle – making tents to provide a living for himself. He makes it clear that this wasn’t necessary. As an apostle, he had the right to ask the church for offerings in support of his ministry. But instead, he felt it important to be an example of a Christian in the workforce.
Of course, there are those who are of the opinion that ministers, pastors, and missionaries don’t do any work. They think that prayer and the study of God’s Word isn’t real work. A simple look at the percentage of believers who come out to a prayer meeting or Bible Study will make it clear that we’re doing what few others want to do.
The fact is that we’re all called to work at something. Usually, if you’re fulfilling your calling, you’ll enjoy most of what you’re doing. That’s why Paul summarized with a final command.
We hear that some among you are idle. They are not busy; they are busybodies. Such people we command and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and earn the bread they eat.
2 Thessalonians 3:11-12
We must all seek the Lord for the vocation He’s calling us to. No matter what it is, whether religious or secular, it can all be done for the glory of Christ.
Question: What’s the work that the Lord has called you to do?
© 2018 Nick Zaccardi