Today’s Reading: 2 Thessalonians 3:1-18
The church in Thessalonica had some problems. Like physical ailments, if they were left untreated, these chronic complaints would only cause more sickness and pain. Some of the believers had a wrong response to the imminent return of Christ and had stopped working and become idle. Because they had nothing else to do, they ran around spreading panic and putting their noses where they did not belong. Paul refers to them as busybodies. Warren Wiersbe puts it this way: “They had time on their hands and gossip on their lips, but they defended themselves by saying, ‘The Lord is coming soon!’”
The question begs to be asked: Why did he spend so much time talking about work? In fact, the topic of labour takes up almost as much space as the focus on the return of Christ in his letters to the Thessalonians.
Have you seen the sign that says, “Work fascinates me, I can sit and watch it for hours?” or here’s another that some of you may agree with: “The worst day of fishing is better than the best day of working.” Another one I’ve seen goes like this: “Hard work may not kill me but why take a chance?”
Our culture has some confusion about work. On the one hand, we have workaholics and on the other extreme are “workabhorics.”
Some of you may have heard that work is a consequence of Adam’s sin. Yet God commands us to work. Exodus 20:8-9, We talk about the importance of rest but we must remember that the command here involves working six days.
Work is part of the creation mandate. Stars shine, plants grow, water does what its supposed to do, clouds do what they do, and when we work we’re doing what we’ve been designed to do. Psalm 104:23: “Then man goes out to his work, to his labour until evening.” Work is our contribution to God’s amazing creation.
Work is a gift from God. When we labour out of love for our Lord, we put on display the genius of God who created each of us uniquely to reflect His beauty. When we work in concert with Him according to our giftedness and abilities, God is glorified and we’re fulfilled because that’s what He’s made us to do. Colossians 3:17: “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”
John Stott captures the essence of work when he writes: “Work is the expenditure of energy (manual or mental or both) in the service of others, which brings fulfillment to the worker, benefit to the community, and glory to God”