Paul Worked

For you yourselves know how you ought to follow us, for we were not disorderly among you; nor did we eat anyone’s bread free of charge, but worked with labor and toil night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, not because we do not have authority, but to make ourselves an example of how you should follow us. For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat. For we hear that there are some who walk among you in a disorderly manner, not working at all, but are busybodies. Now those who are such we command and exhort through our Lord Jesus Christ that they work in quietness and eat their own bread.
II Thessalonians 3:7‭-‬12 NKJV

Great Article about “Why Paul Worked”: http://www.bible-bridge.com/pauls-income-four-reasons-why-paul-worked-day-job/

It’s Monday again.

It’s Monday. And it matters whether I see myself as “putting on my slave clothes” to go out and work for “the man”, or whether I get to go out and be a bearer of Christ’s spirit and nature even in my workplace.

When we slip into an attitude of not being grateful, we can begin to grumble and complain and not bear the light of the Lord in our workplace and in our lives. We can sometimes find ourselves compartmentalizing our joy – bring thankful for one area of our life but dissatisfied with another. This dissatisfaction is a signal that something needs to change.

Many times it is our own attitude that needs to change – not our circumstances or surroundings.

Bondservants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh, not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but in sincerity of heart, fearing God. And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ. But he who does wrong will be repaid for what he has done, and there is no partiality.
Colossians 3:22‭-‬25 NKJV

Bondservants, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in sincerity of heart, as to Christ; not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, with goodwill doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men, knowing that whatever good anyone does, he will receive the same from the Lord, whether he  is a slave or free. And you, masters, do the same things to them, giving up threatening, knowing that your own Master also is in heaven, and there is no partiality with Him.
Ephesians 6:5‭-‬9 NKJV

Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain. Yes, and if I am being poured out as  a  drink  offering on the sacrifice and service of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. For the same reason you also be glad and rejoice with me.
Philippians 2:12‭-‬18 NKJV

Lord, we thank you for the opportunities that we have to provide for our families and help others. We thank you that we can be one who rises early to prepare for the day and who can diligently work for you,  whether it is in the ministry of a cubicled office, a field of crops, building and repairing things for others, or service unto others that is more visibly recognized by others as self sacrifice. Help us to endure the trials,  to stand firm in our service to others – whether it is the business owner and authority, or whether it is the needy and helpless. Help us to serve faithfully and diligently in all circumstances, without grumbling and complaining – but gratefully bringing you honor and glory. Amen.

Get to Work

For you yourselves know how you ought to imitate us, because we were not idle when we were with you, nor did we eat anyone’s bread without paying for it, but with toil and labor we worked night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you. It was not because we do not have that right, but to give you in ourselves an example to imitate. For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat.
2 Thessalonians 3:7-10 ESV
http://bible.com/59/2th.3.7-10.ESV

“We worked night and day” and “if anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat” – Yes, this is the passage that my wife and I opened to for our devotional together this morning – immediately on the heals of yet another late night of work.

I have worked the past 3 weeks working through the nights on the weekends and taking calls almost every single night from work and I’m still there every day for first shift Monday through Friday. In fact, one of the weekends, I had an hour and a half of sleep Friday night and 3 hours Saturday night because of the workload.

Many look at the long hours that I put into my job at times and wonder how I can do it, or even why I would do it. And my answer is, there is a need, and it is in my ability to fill that need. Some of those same people might look at the time that I dedicate weekly to ministry – around 30 hours a week, and they may have the same question, why?

And the reason is the same, there is a need, and I am able to fill it.

Is it a heavy burden at times? It can seem that way if I’m not doing it for the right reasons – but not if I see a need, and I realize that I am able to help, and serve, and give of myself, to help others.

While many might throw accusations that I’m foolish and being used and manipulated and taken advantage of – I would say, if that is so, then am I not blessed to share in sufferings and trials with my Savior?

Isn’t the physical weariness of my long work week nothing beside the sacrifice my Lord and Savior made at the cross?

It encourages me to know that repeatedly the Word of God makes a differentiation between those religious leaders who lived off of the silver of those they oppressed with the law – and Christ the Good Shepherd (and His disciples) who came to serve the needy, to feed the poor, to work and provide for themselves and to help others. It encourages me when I have every urge and passion to spread this gospel to the ends of the earth, but I have no urge to stop working.

And do not take this as an attack upon those who are paid to preach the gospel. I have no fight with my brother, because that is between him and the Lord. We are not all called and used for the same purpose or in the same manner or during the same seasons of our lives. Even the Pharisees were used for God’s purpose when they persecuted Jesus Christ, because if all were perfect, who would there be left to lift Him up on the cross but imperfect me?

I’m just thankful for this blessed assurance that my Lord offers me, in such an encouraging Word just at the perfect moment, just on the morning when it is needed to strengthen me for the day ahead. I may have worked through the night and into the morning, and it may be time again to head back into the office and do this thing again – but I am strengthened by the Lord. And I am doing His work, not working for mere men.

There is a need. There is a great need. Both in your workplace and in the mission field.

Are you stepping forth to fill that need? Or sitting idle and still expecting to eat?

Get to work, friends. The time is short, the need is great, and your end will be upon you sooner than you might imagine.

Please don’t be satisfied with the words LAZY or IDLE or SELFISH even touching the thoughts or tongue of whoever will be giving your eulogy – if you would claim the name of Christ as the Savior of your life. He deserves a better testimony than that from us, friends. He deserves the words FAITHFUL SERVANT to be the undeniable evidence and testimony of our lives.