September 14, 2020

Time to Work

 Devotion for the Week...

Even though I've been reading the Bible for years, I am still amazed when a particular sentence (that I've probably read dozens of times before) leaps out at me and just grabs my attention. It happened again this week with a portion of a verse in 1 Thessalonians. The full verse reads, "Brothers and sisters, we urge you to warn those who are lazy. Encourage those who are timid. Take tender care of those who are weak. Be patient with everyone" (1 Thessalonians 5:14).

In this verse Paul is giving four tasks to believers - warn, encourage, take care and be patient. It was the first task that stopped me that morning as I was reading. Warn those who are lazy. My first thought was, "God really wants to emphasize that we're supposed to be working!"

Nowhere in the Bible does God encourage laziness or the shirking of our portion of the work that needs to be done. He encourages balance and rest, absolutely, but the overarching message is that if it's not a time of rest, then we should be getting our work done. Here are just a few verses as examples:

"But you, lazybones, how long will you sleep? When will you wake up? A little extra sleep, a little more slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest—then poverty will pounce on you like a bandit; scarcity will attack you like an armed robber" (Proverbs 6:9-11).

"A hard worker has plenty of food, but a person who chases fantasies has no sense" (Proverbs 12:11).

"How joyful are those who fear the Lord—all who follow his ways! You will enjoy the fruit of your labor. How joyful and prosperous you will be!" (Psalm 128:2).

"A lazy person is as bad as someone who destroys things" (Proverbs 18:9).

"Make it your goal to live a quiet life, minding your own business and working with your hands, just as we instructed you before. Then people who are not believers will respect the way you live, and you will not need to depend on others" (1 Thessalonians 4:11, 12).

Why is Paul telling believers to warn those who are lazy? Warn them about what, exactly? Maybe he was thinking of what he would write to the Thessalonians in a later letter: "Even while we were with you, we gave you this command: “Those unwilling to work will not get to eat'" (2 Thessalonians 3:10). It doesn't get much simpler than that! I remember quoting that particular verse to my boys when they were young and complaining about some chore they were given. It's a great reminder that we all have a role to play in the work that needs to be done and that we can't expect everyone else to do the work while we just reap the rewards.

God values the work we do |
Background quilt is Intersections

God values the work we do, no matter what that work may be. Our contributions to the running of our homes, our places of employment, our communities and causes we believe in, all of that work is needed so we might as well get to it.

And, of course, that way we all get to eat, too 😊


  1. As ever, your insights are spot-on! Just this week, I've begun a Beth Moore study called "Children of the Day," based on Thessalonians ! and !!, so I'm looking forward to hearing Beth's take on all this, and especially "working with your hands" as it applies to those of us who use our hands to create. Another concept these verses beg for exploration is... how is a retired person meant to work? I ask myself that question often, especially as I see myself spending oodles of time indulging in self-satisfying quiltmaking and sewing! It's a concern I pray about, especially during these stay-at-home pandemic days.

  2. So often, I hear women talking about "just" being a stay-at-home mom or housewife, etc. but that's definitely work and there's a lot of value in doing it well! You can sit and watch TV all day, or you can work for your family, preparing nutritious meals, keeping them clothed and making sure that your house is a welcoming (and safe!) place for everyone to come home to!


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