“Now we command you brothers, in the name of the 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.” 2 Thessalonians 3:6-12
God made us to work. Thorns and thistles after the fall were a part of the curse brought on by sin but work in and of itself is not a curse. God made us to work. After a couple of weeks of vacation, I can say it is nice to have a break and to enjoy some rest and a different pace and different activities, but it is also nice to get back to work and do productive things to earn a living.
Our country is facing an employment crisis right now with businesses in need of workers and workers (in some cases) making more money to stay at home and not work. Having gone through a most unusual time in the history of our nation and perhaps the world in the past year, we can perhaps give leaders the benefit of the doubt in seeking to help those who are unable to work. With conditions today not like they were 12 or even 16 months ago, we ought to be those who encourage others to avoid idleness.
The regular rhythm of life is to involve six days of labor and one of rest. Six days of everyday life and one day of heavenly rest. And that isn’t to say that we all have to labor in the same ways as we get older. Retirement from a career or one’s younger labor is not a call to avoid all forms of labor all together.
And don’t forget that when one is not busy at work one can become a busybody. When I am not focused on what the Lord has for me, I can become too preoccupied in what others are doing or not doing and I can interject where I shouldn’t. We have drifted from being concerned about our own families and our own sphere of influence to wanting everyone to act and think and behave just like we do.
Loving God and loving my neighbor involves labor. It takes effort. Providing for oneself takes time and it takes effort. And labor is not all about paychecks either. The mother who cares for her family is worth her weight in gold, to use that old expression.
May the Lord help us to labor for His glory and to earn enough to share with others.
“And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” Colossians 3:17