June 4, 2107
When I read in the Bible about a command or advice on what not to do, I realize that it was written because people were doing the thing that was being condemned. Else while would the author have recorded that warning? That being said, it’s obvious that some of the early Christians were lazy, just as Christians today. But it is instructive to consider the manner in which certain sins or errors were confronted by the apostles and Jesus Himself juxtaposed as to how we confront sin.
Sometimes it seems that we are so careful to avoid hurting feelings that we do more long term damage to people and the church than good! What strikes me in particular is our hesitation to talk in to children and youth about the “four letter word”: work.
To some , the chief goal of man is comfort, pleasure and relaxation. But in the New Testament it’s made clear that we are to work. Even before the fall of mankind man (Adam) worked—-it’s never looked upon as an evil or undesirable burden on man, but a positive and good thing. It’s one of those things that actually draws us closer to our Creator. God works.
But in the early church some folks were taking advantage of the generosity, kindness and brotherly love of the church by simply not working and enjoying the benefits of being a member of the body of Christ.
Paul’s words to those that did not work were bold and unflinching: If you don’t work, you don’t eat. Imagine a camp or church or society that said that to it’s staff or members? That group following basic Christian principles. The ideal Christian community is comprised of people that work—there’s no place for loafing around.
Paul said to the people of Thessalonia: “….we gave you this command: "If anyone is unwilling to work, he shall not eat. …
Later he commented to Timothy: “Now if anyone does not provide for his own relatives (that is, if he is not working for a living”) he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. Pretty tough words.
Paul was being both pragmatic and touching something that is essential for Christian growth——we must work if want to live… and we must work if we want to experience the full blessing of a redeemed life! We were created to lead productive lives. If we don’t work we become idle and the enemy creates discord and offers perverted alternatives—that’s what he is good at. He takes good things like computers, iPads, cell phones, sports, TV and games into idols for us to worship.
Working throughout your life is what God intends. Getting your hands dirty and soiled is GODLY THING. For his first 30 years, God’s own Son learned to work as a carpenter—with His own Holy hands. If God found it beneficial in Christ’s development to cause Him labor, why do we shield our children and youth from work? Why do we allow ourselves and our children to avoid laboring, sweating, getting tired from the toil? If God Himself rested after creation, why is not proper for us to work so hard that WE are tired and need to rest?
We are fighting a spiritual battle where the Divine One compels us to work and the enemy tempts us to avoid work at all costs! The enemy tells us to let someone do the chores, pick up the trash, clean up the mess, work the long hours—-better to eat, drink and be merry. But work allow Him who loves us to pour into us His joy and peace and sense of purpose that you can never enjoy by being lazy. The “happiness” we think we have by being
lazy is a very poor substitute for the fulfilled life God wants us to enjoy.
A Christian community should expect all that are able to work to work and should be teaching children and youth to work.