Gossip and Work

When I think of Christianity, I think of love, service and charity. I don’t always associate it with hard work. One of the many reasons to read and re-read scripture is to remind us of all that can be forgotten.

This week’s letter from Paul (2 Thessalonians 3:7-12) to the Thessalonians gives two very clear and strong messages to the early Christians. Is it good to be prayerful, alert and ready for Jesus’ return? Yes. Does that mean that we should stop working and hang around on the coach all day in sweatpants doing nothing while waiting for his return? Not according to Paul!

Paul asks the Thessalonians to imitate his strong work ethic and behavior. Although Paul could probably have expected to be fed by his followers, he works to support himself and tells the Thessalonians, “We instructed you that if anyone was unwilling to work, neither should that one eat.” Wow! Are we expected to love, assist and financially support people who are incapable of working and providing for themselves? Absolutely. Should we expect people who are mentally and physically capable of working to perform some type of work in exchange for assistance with their food and shelter? Paul says, YES!

In the same relatively short letter, Paul also touches on the topic of gossip and being busybodies. Paul eloquently says, “We hear that some are conducting themselves among you in a disorderly way, by not keeping busy but minding the business of others.”

Let’s review what was going on a little more than 2000 years ago my fellow Christians:

1. Some early Christians were not working to support themselves.

2. They were expecting others to pay their way through life.

3. Because they were sitting around with nothing better to do, they were sticking their noses into other people’s business.

Does that scenario sound more like 2000 years ago or November of 2010?

Paul’s very old advice will serve us equally well today: “Such people we instruct and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to work quietly and to eat their own food.”

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