True Christian Conduct (I Thessalonians 4:11)
Work with Your Own Hands (I Thessalonians 4:11) - Part 3
I Thessalonians 4:11, And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you;
It is said that when John Wesley was in his eighties, he complained in his diary that he was struggling with being tempted to stay in bed until 5:30 in the morning! One of the most active and productive evangelists in history, Wesley is said to have traveled more than a quarter of a million miles on horseback, and to have preached over four thousand sermons. One thing is for sure, Wesley knew how to work. In spite of difficulties throughout his lifetime, he simply took the initiative to do what God had called him to do.
The words "work and working" are mentioned 400 times in the Word of God. The word work means to toil or labor. Honest work is right and acceptable in the eyes of Christ. The word "honestly" means to work in a commendable and respectful way. The phrase with your own hands speaks of personal labor or doing things your own self. We are to work and set a godly example on the job. A Christian employee ought to be the best employee on the job. The Christian employee should be the most diligent and most dependable employee. Work is not a product or effect due to sin. Adam was to work before the curse of sin. However once Adam and Eve sinned in the garden, man was told by the sweat of his face we would eat bread. Paul practiced what he preached. By trade he was a tentmaker. God has no patience with people who do not work. We are to live in a godly manner in our personal life and in our public life as well. No Christian should be a dead beat or a lazy person. Rather than drifting along with the culture, God’s people should be shining examples as workers. Whether the task is enjoyable or not, or whether it pays as much as we think it should or not, work is part of God’s plan for our lives, and it is ultimately not for our human boss that we work. Paul wrote, “And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ” (Colossians 3:23-24).
The Bible teaches laziness is sin. Paul spoke of this in II Thessalonians 3:10-12, For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat. 11For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies. 12Now them that are such we command and exhort by our LORD Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread. We are to work and provide for our families and others as well. In this world, there are too many people that can work but will not work. The welfare system in America has rewarded laziness for way to long. God takes work seriously. Here is the answer to one of America's biggest problems. We live in a society that has been rewarded for not working. As God's people we have no problem helping those in need, but it seems that America has become a welfare state. What happens is that when you do not work there is too much idle time on your hands and that usually results in trouble. "Idle hands are the Devil's workshop." Our society does not value work as it once did. There are many government programs providing funding for those who are unwilling to labor. (This is different than providing help for those who cannot help themselves.) This produces a negative incentive. When there is no connection between work and reward, it is not hard to understand why people regard work as something to be avoided if at all possible. Yet those who refuse to do what they are able to do cheat themselves of the satisfaction and accomplishment that comes from diligent labor. There would be a lot less trouble in this world if the lazy would get a job. Believers are not to support a person who can work and has the opportunity to work but refuses to do so. We live in a culture in which many people expect the government and faith-based organizations to support them.
God can use our work ethic as a witness of a changed life! A person who works honestly with their own hands is a great asset to any family, employer, or church. We must labor in order to walk honestly before unbelievers. Working is another aspect of love because people who work to provide for themselves and their families don’t burden others for support. All persons are placed on earth to contribute and to help meet the desperate needs of men. A Christian is to be faithful in everyday duties and to work hard for the benefit of others. Instead of looking to others to help us, we are ready and able to support the needy and those who have faced unfortunate circumstances. The result of growing in love will be to be quiet. Living a quiet life requires you mind your own business and refrain from meddling. A habitual meddler is usually not occupied with any kind of productive work.
Questions to Consider:
How have you been tempted to gain wealth hastily or dishonestly?
How can you make your work more honest and God-honoring?
Points to Ponder:
God’s plan is for us to get up, look around, find what needs to be done and do it.
Help me to be willing to work hard without waiting for someone else to decide what needs to be done and issue instructions.
Prayer: Lord, thank You for the work You’ve given me to do and for the opportunity to provide for my family. Help me to embrace the dignity of my work. I want to work hard, on everything, for Your glory. In Jesus' name. Amen.
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Dr. Blackman is passionate about helping others grow in the grace of the Lord. His devotions are centered on how to grow closer to the Lord through a personal relationship.