Plan your work and work your Plan


For even when we were with you, we used to give you this order: if anyone is not willing to work, then he is not to eat, either.
(2 Thessalonians 3:10 NASB)
For we hear that some among you are leading an undisciplined life, doing no work at all, but acting like busybodies.
(2 Thessalonians 3:11 NASB)
Now such persons we command and exhort in the Lord Jesus Christ to work in quiet fashion and eat their own bread.
(2 Thessalonians 3:12 NASB)
But as for you, brethren, do not grow weary of doing good.
(2 Thessalonians 3:13 NASB)


In this letter to the church in Thessaloniki some very practical advice for daily living is given to the followers of Jesus Christ. To be a part of the Church community meant that you were to also take responsibility for your personal life. It sounds rather harsh, but if people weren't willing to put forth effort to work, then they were not supposed to get free food. This didn't mean that they didn't help the needy. Often we read about the ministry to the orphans and the widows. Those who were unable to care for themselves were cared for by the church community. But those who were able to work were to do everything that they could to be busy with their hands. Not only this, but there was something about the Christian life which was to bring about self-discipline. People were not to make a big deal about their work, but simply to go out and do their job, and not get tired of doing the right thing.


Growing up my parents had a motto; "Plan your work and work your plan." While this phrase is not found in scripture, in some ways the principles behind it are, as seen in today's reading. Sadly it seems that we may not be passing along this kind of a work ethic these days, even within the life of the church. The concept of "entitlement" has permeated society that even followers of Christ do not always accept responsibility for working hard for their own bread. The instructions above sound rather harsh. If someone is not willing to work for their bread, then they should not be allowed to eat.

It is when the community of faith works together that society can be cared for. The community members who can work, do work. They provide for themselves and for those who cannot provide for themselves. If the Church had been living this way we would not need governments to step in and take over the responsibilities that should have belonged to those who are members of the Kingdom. Is it too late now? Have we gone too far? Has the Church's lack of involvement in caring for the needs of the communities in which they have been placed made them irrelevant in the eyes of the world? We are exhorted to not grow weary in doing good. Therefore, the answer ought to be a resounding "no!" It is not too late for the Church to step up and step in and be Jesus in the world. It begins with each and every one of us leading a disciplined life, working hard, and caring for those around us who genuinely can't care for themselves.

Wake up, dear Church. Plan your work -- and then go out and work your plan!


Lord, help us to be Your disciplined disciples. Amen.


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