If we can work, we should do so

Last updated on April 19, 2021

“… 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 3:10-12)

For healthy adults, work is not something inferior that we should try to avoid. On the contrary, we are encouraged to do our work and earn our own living if we can. Work is not only necessary to be economically independent from others, but also helps to spend our time well.

It is better to work than to “walk in idleness”. It was for example Paul’s experience that young widows who didn’t have a family to care for, could turn into “idlers, going about from house to house, and not only idlers, but also gossips and busybodies, saying what they should not” (1 Timothy 5:13). Idleness generally doesn’t bring about anything good.

Paul mentions still another reason to work: “Let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need” (Ephesians 4:28). There will always be people who cannot or should not work — since they are ill, handicapped, too young or too old to work, or just can’t find a job. Then it’s the responsibility of others to share with them. “You shall open wide your hand to your brother, to the needy and to the poor, in your land” (Deuteronomy 15:11).

Having this Bible text in mind, do you spend your time and resources well?

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