How Work = Loving Others

Mar 23, 2015Uncaged Podcast

This week’s Uncaged Podcast comes from 1 Thessalonians 4:9-12 (NLT) “But we don’t need to write to you about the importance of loving each other, for God himself has taught you to love one another. Indeed, you already show your love for all the believers throughout Macedonia. Even so, dear brothers and sisters, we urge you to love them even more. Make it your goal to live a quiet life, minding your own business and working with your hands, just as we instructed you before. Then people who are not believers will respect the way you live, and you will not need to depend on others.”

Three things to remember:

Eschatology Prevented Honest Work. Some Thessalonian believers thought that the Lord’s imminent return eliminated any necessity of working. Whether through laziness or distraction, they had decided to live off the “gifts” of others, placing a burden on their fellow believers.

Why Working = Love. “Paul frames his appeal to them in terms of brotherly love. His argument is that to work for one’s own living is a mark of love, because then we do not need to depend on the support of fellow Christians, while deliberately to give up work is a breach of love because then we become parasites on the body of Christ” (Stott, 88).

Why Working = Respect. “Engaging in respectable forms of manual labor could have the intended results of garnering the respect of outsiders (Jewish and Greek) and fending off need. However, Paul’s intent here was not to praise manual labor per se. This is not a command to the wealthy to take up a trade but an encouragement to each individual to do his own work and so be a self-supporting, contributing member of the church and so also of his city. . . . The opposite was to live a life of idleness and dependence. Paul reasoned that a person capable of working should do just that” (Martin, 138).

Four Important Commands for You Today (Self inventory)

• Abound more in love, (more love)
• Aspire to live a quiet life, (more quiet)
• Attend to your own business, and (more discipline)
• Work with your own hands (more focused work)