The Light of Christ Journey

Encouraging people on their journey with Christ

Paul urges the Thessalonians to be committed to work. 1 Thessalonians 4: 11 Make it your goal to live a quiet life, minding your own business and working with your hands, just as we instructed you before. 12 Then people who are not believers will respect the way you live, and you will not need to depend on others.[1]

The people during Paul’s time had differing views on work. Jews valued manual labor, and every male learned a trade. Paul learned tentmaking and seemed to have used it to support himself while in Thessalonica. 1 Thessalonians 2: Don’t you remember, dear brothers and sisters, how hard we worked among you? Night and day we toiled to earn a living so that we would not be a burden to any of you as we preached God’s Good News to you.[2] The Greeks, however, despised manual labor and thought it was only for slaves.

Stopped Work to Wait for Jesus

It seems that some new believers anticipated that Jesus would return soon and so stopped work to wait for His return. They were acting like parasites in the community because others had to work to support them. These idle people also had time to interfere in the work of others. This situation was not helpful. Paul asked them to remember how he had worked among them and urged them to do the same.

Paul also noted that those who refused to work would lose the respect of others. Non-believers would be less likely to listen to these lazy ones. In fact, these idle ones could bring condemnation to the church.

Our Work Ethic and Testimony

We often treat work as a curse. But God gave Adam work to do at creation and thus gives value to work. It was the fall that caused work to become a curse. God has designed us to be productive. Paul wrote Timothy with advice about work. 2 Timothy 2: 15 Work hard so you can present yourself to God and receive his approval. Be a good worker, one who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly explains the word of truth.[3] 

Know that non-Christians are always watching. What do they see as they watch you? Does your attitude at work reflect your beliefs? Will your work ethic help others listen to your testimony or cause others to reject God?

God has given us work so that we can provide for our families and to be able to give to those who are in need. The Lord wants us to be committed to work. To learn more, listen here:

[1-3] Tyndale House Publishers. (2015). Holy Bible: New Living Translation . Tyndale House Publishers.

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