2 Thessalonians 3:6-12 says: 6 And now, dear brothers and sisters, we give you this command in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ: Stay away from all believers who live idle lives and don’t follow the tradition they received from us. 7 For you know that you ought to imitate us. We were not idle when we were with you. 8 We never accepted food from anyone without paying for it. We worked hard day and night so we would not be a burden to any of you. 9 We certainly had the right to ask you to feed us, but we wanted to give you an example to follow. 10 Even while we were with you, we gave you this command: “Those unwilling to work will not get to eat.” 11 Yet we hear that some of you are living idle lives, refusing to work and meddling in other people’s business. 12 We command such people and urge them in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and work to earn their own living.
Get to work! That is what Paul is saying here. Get off your rear and make something happen. He also said it in 1 Thessalonians 4:11. I have always loved the concept of working hard and doing it for the Lord. Whether we’re working in ministry, to help others, or for our living work is important and it is Biblical. Working hard is part of what we’re called to do. Idleness is not, it breeds trouble and problems. I agree with Paul in that our work is important and doing it to the best of our ability honors God and shows our appreciation for His gifts and blessings.
I do think though that we have to be careful not to make work an idol. As someone that loves to work hard and accomplish things, it is also possible for work and work accomplishments to replace God. There is a hustle-until-I-die mentality that is pushed in our culture that is not healthy. While I believe hard work and good stewardship of our time and resources is necessary, we can’t let work or our goals replace God in our lives. I need to lean into God and allow his ambitions and goals to drive me and not my own.
This is a balance I need to constantly weigh. I need to be continuously evaluating what is most important in my life. I need to look to see if my work is glorifying God or myself. I need to daily ask myself if my work and expression of my worship and thankfulness for God’s provision or is it a replacement. I need to find the necessary balance of working hard and following Jesus!