2 Thessalonians 3:10 For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: “If a man will not work, he shall not eat.”
It seems to me that this verse should be inscribed over the door of several US government agencies! This isn’t at all commanding a harsh attitude toward those who are unable to work, it is simply a strict stance toward freeloaders. The thing is, we are created to work, (Ephesians 2:10) and denying that harms everyone involved. One of the worst things about the shutdowns enacted out of fear of COVID is the denial of the right to work for so many people, and government handouts certainly don’t “solve” the issue. There are all sorts of work, from the highly physical to the strictly mental, and all of them have value and honor (provided the activity is moral). Instilling a work ethic is one of the most important things a parent can do for their children. The problem is, many if not most people are naturally lazy, and need incentives for their own good. Paul was very down-to-earth about it, saying that people who simply choose not to work are not to be fed. That is the opposite of politicians who try to buy votes with “free” government programs. Not only is nothing free (somebody has to pay for it), they are destroying the very people they claim to be helping. The conservative position is accused of being “heartless,” when that is a false characterization from the start. The Bible is very clear about support for “widows and orphans,” which can apply to all who are physically unable to work, but God, who is the ultimate source of everything we need, knows that we need to make productive use of that which He supplies to us.
It is very interesting that this should come right now, because I overdid things over the past couple of days and currently have lower back pain that makes me less than enthusiastic about doing anything physical! I’m grateful that I’m not totally immobilized, but I have a degree of empathy with my wife’s pain issues beyond what I have had before! Thankfully, the work for which I am paid is far more mental than physical, but I will certainly need help in completing the cleanup of the branches from our big tree being pruned this week. To be honest, I certainly have a laze streak, as much as most people, I would think. However, I certainly recognize the satisfaction in doing a job well, whether I am paid for it or not. When my parents were missionaries, I didn’t grow up with a firm connection between doing work and being paid, and that has been a bit of a liability. Instilling a work ethic is easier in a physical-labor situation. However, I do know that we are created to be God’s instruments to do His work, even if we sometimes need a kick to get us off our duff and get moving.
Father, thank You for this reminder, both in word and through my physical pain. Help me receive Your lessons however You give them to me, growing as You intend, to be and do what You desire, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!