2 Thessalonians 3
Before there was anything, God was at work... creating light and colors and sunsets and mountains and flowering plants and shooting stars and animals that swim, crawl, walk, hop, and fly. “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the WORK OF HIS HANDS.” (Psalm 19:1).
As God looks around after the first several days of creation, He sees there is no one to work the ground. So, He sets out to creates man; a being in His image and likeness. And unlike the other created things, He breathes into the nostrils of the first man and brings him to life. Then God took His new creation and put him in the garden to work it and keep it. We were CREATED for work.
God could have created self-sustaining beings having no need to refuel with water and food. He could have made us to sit around and stare at His creation, feet propped up with no responsibilities. But He didn’t. He designed us with drive and purpose. To use our hands and the creativity that was breathed into us by our Creator. To have a passion for the things He has a passion for. He created us to be part of His unfolding story. We GET TO work.
The Thessalonians Christians find themselves an oppressed and persecuted people. Life is hard, and work is even harder. They believe Jesus is returning any day. As a result, some people decide to quit working. They may even brush it off as a spiritual waiting and watching for Jesus. But we weren’t made to be idle. And as long as we are able, we are to work. When we aren’t living out the calling of God on our lives – whatever our “work” looks like in a given season– we find other things to fill the time. The Thessalonians that have stopped working have started meddling. Paul calls them busybodies. They fill their time concerned with how others are filling their time. And while they’re at it, they ask to be fed and cared for by these same people. Paul admonishes them saying things like, “if anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat” and “…work quietly and earn your own living.” (2 Thessalonians 3:10,12)
Paul knows that people will take advantage of the generosity of others. And among an already persecuted crew, he knows this can add to the suffering and discouragement. So, Paul is quick to encourage them saying, “do not grow weary in doing good.”
Do you sometimes feel like your work is getting you nowhere? Like you give and give with no returns? Do you sometimes feel taken advantage of? Unnoticed, unappreciated, unrewarded? Don’t give up, friends. Your work is good. There was great need among the Thessalonians thousands of years ago, and there is great need among us today. Never grow weary in doing good. There is a priceless reward awaiting you.
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