The following article was written by Jason Dickey of Tampa, FL
2 Thessalonians 3:6-13 Now we command you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from any brother who is walking in idleness and not in accord with the tradition that you received from us. For you yourselves know how you ought to imitate us, because we were not idle when we were with you, nor did we eat anyone\’s bread without paying for it, but with toil and labor we worked night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you. It was not because we do not have that right, but to give you in ourselves an example to imitate. For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat. For we hear that some among you walk in idleness, not busy at work, but busybodies. Now such persons we command and encourage in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work quietly and to earn their own living. As for you, brothers, do not grow weary in doing good.
The Thessalonians were a people that thought an impending resurrection and return of the Lord meant that they didn’t have to work. They thought that because Christ had come and was to come again soon that there was no point to work and labor in the world. You can see from the above excerpt that Paul clearly did not agree with that approach. In fact, the Bible as a whole repeats this same simple refrain throughout. Work hard.
“All you do, do as for the Lord”, “He who is slack in his work is brother to he who destroys”, “You wicked and lazy slave, you knew that I reap where I did not sow and gather where I scattered no seed.”. Throughout the Bible we are told to be a hard working people, a people that labors in all that we do. This is not only part of our innate nature do to the curse that we caused upon the whole earth in our sin, it is part of the promise from God for the sabbath. Exodus 20:8-9 “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work,…” You see in order for the sabbath rest to have any meaning we must work the first 6 days. In order for God to rest on the seventh day He had to create the first six. Work is innate in who God is as well as those who are created in His image. Yes, the labor that embark on in this sin filled world is by the sweat of our brow, but that does not mean that the Lord is not a God of work also. Jesus Himself even said “My Father is working until now, and I myself am working”.
Why this emphasis on work? Why were the Thessalonians wrong in their thinking? This world is passing away and these bodies will go down into the grave won’t they? So why does work matter? It matters because that is the nature were created into. In the kingdom of God we will labor. Adam and Eve were to tend and keep the garden. I assure you God will approach heaven with the same intent. Those who don’t labor and work are not a part with God for there is much work to be done. There is work to be done within the Church and within our families, there is work to be done in shining the light of God, there is work to be done in providing for those that depend on us in terms of money, love, and support. There is more work to be done than we can hope to accomplish.
Work, for the night is coming,
Work through the morning hours;
Work while the dew is sparkling,
Work ’mid springing flow’rs.
Work when the day grows brighter,
Work in the glowing sun;
Work, for the night is coming,
Give every flying minute
Something to keep in store;
Work, for the night is coming.