Here, in today’s passage we get the flip side of the coin that holds the Lord’s promise to provide for all the needs of the faithful. Of course the Lord will always provide for the needs of his servants, but implied in the very word “servant” is the assumption that there will be work to do. In the early church, the members of the fellowship pooled all their resources and so they were able to meet the needs of the whole community and still have enough left over to share with outsiders, visitors, whoever was in need. But this system can only be sustainable if everyone pulls their weight. I, myself, have recently had to face the reality that, although I feel that the Lord is calling me into a more full time kind of service, I can not possibly just abandon my current job in the expectation that the Lord himself, or the christian community in general, will somehow just deal with my personal and financial responsibilities. The Lord’s abundant and merciful promise that he will provide all we need is not, and never will be, a free meal ticket. We are expected to contribute all we have to the banquet in order that we might all share it, and all be satisfied.
2 Thessalonians 3:6-15 NLT
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. For you know that you ought to imitate us. We were not idle when we were with you. 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. We certainly had the right to ask you to feed us, but we wanted to give you an example to follow. Even while we were with you, we gave you this command: “Those unwilling to work will not get to eat.” Yet we hear that some of you are living idle lives, refusing to work and meddling in other people’s business. 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. As for the rest of you, dear brothers and sisters, never get tired of doing good. Take note of those who refuse to obey what we say in this letter. Stay away from them so they will be ashamed. Don’t think of them as enemies, but warn them as you would a brother or sister.
I have been given a jolt by Paul’s point in today’s passage. It has shown me how easily we can wander off course in our lives by fixating too heavily on one particular aspect of scripture. Today for example, I find I have been putting an unrealistic amount of hope on God’s miraculous provision. Now I see, and will make it my goal, that if I just keep on working, putting one foot in front of the other in faith, and never giving up, he will meet my needs.
Jeremiah 26:1-27:22, 2 Thessalonians 3:1-18, Psalms 85:1-13, Proverbs 25:16