What's Your Work Ethic?

Scripture: 2 Thessalonians 3:11, ‘We hear that some among you are idle. They are not busy; they are busybodies.’


Observations: At the end of this short letter Paul warns the Christians in Thessalonica about laziness. He had received a report that ‘some among them were idle.’ The word in Greek doesn’t just mean they were lazy, but that they were also disruptive, that they were a burden to others. Paul then makes a play on words ‘they’re not busy, but busybodies.’ They are busy interfering in the lives of others rather than busy doing what is right. Paul tells the church to ‘keep away’ from such people (v6), and to ‘warn them as brothers, (v15)’ and he tells such people to ‘settle down and earn the bread they eat. (v12)’ Paul’s rule in this matter is simple, ‘If a man will not work, he shall not eat. (v10)’ For Paul a good work ethic is evidence of the Spirit’s activity in our lives, whereas a bad work ethic is evidence of ungodly selfishness.


Application: What is your work ethic like? In our society we face both extremes. Some people are lazy and are an unnecessary burden on our society, and they need to heed Paul’s warning. Others are workaholics and they neglect other godly aspects of life i.e. sharing the gospel, their family, meaningful relationships, and their health. For Paul, we need to work to meet our needs and the needs of our family, rather than being a financial burden on others. Of course if we are unable to work that’s a different story, but many people claim they cannot work when in reality they are lazy. If Jesus was to confront you on this issue what would he say to you?


Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, I thank You for the work that You have provided for me. I thank You that I can provide for the needs of my family, and that You have given me even more than I need. Lord, help me to use my time wisely. Forgive me when I am lazy, or distracted, or I use my time selfishly. May my work ethic be an example to others. And may You use my efforts to bless others and to build Your kingdom. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

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