The Apostle Paul had the right to expect support from those he ministered to. But he worked with his own hands to supply his own needs instead, as an example for others. He was trying to get across to them that the world is watching us as children of God and will judge us by the way we behave. Therefore, we should not give people good reason to gossip about us and to accuse us of being nosy or lazy. But, if we’re busybodies ourselves, meddling in the business of others when we should be minding our own business while supporting ourselves, we certainly can’t claim that we’re promoting or portraying what Paul was demonstrating. He urged the Christians to “…study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you…” (1 Thessalonians 4:11). And, not only did he encourage this, but he also lived it himself in his day-to-day activities.
“For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies. Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread” (2 Thessalonians 3:11-12). People who believe the Gospel of Christ are expected to live according to what it says. It doesn’t say that those who avoid work should be supported by those who work hard. We’re encouraged instead to work diligently ourselves, and to reserve our assistance for those who are truly sick, or so disabled that they can’t support themselves. Christians ought to be diligent to work so that they can have the means to do good for others.
There are some Christians who think they have a right to mind the business of other Christians, because they feel that they’re somehow superior. But their interference in the lives of others can stir up a lot of trouble. The Lord commanded His servants to stay busy supporting themselves and their family until He comes back for them. But if we choose to pass our time meddling and loafing instead, what a prime opportunity we provide for the devil to find some other trouble for us to get into! We should therefore continue to work hard right up to the end.
And if we truly love our brothers and sisters in the Lord, then we’ll do our best to quietly mind our own business, not their’s. Yet those who think that they’re spirituality superior, or that they have greater faithfulness or knowledge, often lack this attitude. We should never assume that we’re superior to others who do hard, physical work, because we’re all dependent on the work of other people. We should be involved in our own ordinary occupation in a simple, steady and peaceful way instead.
“…the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it [work it] and to keep it…In the sweat of thy face [work] shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground…” (Genesis 2:15; 3:19). The effect of Christianity on people everywhere is to be hard-working and diligent. Every able-bodied man should recognize that it’s his sacred duty to be employed. In this world, there’s enough so that everyone can have some job to do. Jesus set such an example of tireless work that it might make us wonder if a man is really His true follower if he isn’t interested in being employed. The Lord made man to work. But if a man has the ability to work and won’t do it, then he won’t fully understand what a blessing the Lord has given him.
No one who’s able to work has the right to depend wholly on the work of others instead. True Christians work diligently doing whatever we’re called to do. We perform our worldly duties faithfully because we believe that the Lord assigned them to us. But if we have worldly ambition, when will we have a chance to step aside to be peaceful and quiet? We’ll just be encouraged to be restless instead. Paul warned his listeners to steer clear of unrest and to live in peace by minding their own business. Therefore, if we truly desire to do the Lord’s will in this, He’ll find us minding our own business, rather than the business of others. We need to keep holding on until the end and to never give up or get tired in our work ethic. Once we arrive in heaven, there will then be enough time for us to rest from our work!
[Additional image credit: Featured image (when applicable) by Keira Burton on Pexels]