Verses: 1 Thessalonians 4:9-12
Now concerning brotherly love you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another, for that indeed is what you are doing to all the brothers throughout Macedonia. But we urge you, brothers, to do this more and more, and to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you, so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one.
At first glance, these verses might not seem to perfectly fit together. However, given the cultural context, it makes perfect sense. The Thessalonians are facing cultural issues that are not too different than some of our cultural issues today.
At the time when Paul is writing, manual labor is hard. Many people quit work responsibilities and live off of the charitableness of others. Paul’s beginning statement is that this is actually not brotherly love.
Instead, Paul states that we should work, and work hard. Supporting our families and communities is this brotherly love he mentions.
“aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands,” Paul’s instruction seems simple, right? Keep your head down, mind your own business, do your own work to provide for your community.
… but this is America. Let’s be honest, we have all kinds of work issues, right? We work too much, we work too little. We make it our identity, we don’t care enough. Culturally, it seems like no matter what we do we’re told we can’t get it right.
Jesus is providing us freedom from that. He has commanded us to do our best work. He tells us to work for the Lord, not for man. (Colossians 3:23) it is loving to those around us to work at our best. Beyond this, Paul tells us this is a way we can “walk properly to outsiders”. This is a way we can stand apart as Christ followers.
So think- what is your work? It doesn’t just mean our daily employment or that it necessarily has to end in monetary payment. This work can be anything. Do you make art? Are you taking care of family members? Are you serving at church? Evaluate the opportunities you have to work unto the Lord in your life.
Lord, help me to clearly see the areas of work that you’ve placed in my life for a purpose. God, help me to remember that I work for you and as a representative of the name of Jesus. Please rejuvenate my spirit towards work and remind my heart that you are with me for each and every step. Amen
Author: Becca Artymenko