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. (2 Thessalonians 3:10-12)
It is not hard to find a business that does not have a notice looking for help. “Now Hiring” is more common as the economic outcome of COVID-19 and government assistance have driven many to stay home collecting unemployment checks. The government has been so generous, many of the basic level jobs pay less than what can be received from collecting federal and state assistance. Some companies are paying prospective employees to interview. Free money is a great temptation that does not make a community great but begins to destroy the fabric of what made America a strong nation: its workforce.
The Second World War was tragic for the cause and effect of the carnage inflicted worldwide. One of the strengths that came from the early 1900s is establishing an incredible labor force that changed the face of the world. It was not a throwaway, plastic society but a world of quality work done by hard-working people. There was a national pride in the country following the war that helped put men on the moon, create an industry of technological wonders through computers, wireless devices, cellphones, and science far beyond the imagination of men. Opportunities abounded with endless possibilities. Those days are gone.
Businesses are struggling to find people who are willing to work. Often, those who work have little desire to do a good job, barely getting by with minimal effort. Quality of product has lagged, customer service is almost non-existent, and going beyond the job requirements is refused. What is lacking is the spirit of Christ in the workplace. The gospel of Christ will save a soul from eternal judgment, but it will also make a world in this life that is noble, honest, just, and willing to work. Paul exhorts the church in Thessalonica to be examples of hard work and diligence. The apostle says that if a man refuses to work, he is walking disorderly. He rebukes those who live idle lives, refusing to work and meddling in other people’s business. The church has an obligation (a command) to withdraw from every brother who walks disorderly, including those who refuse to work.
Paul taught a gospel of integrity. The Christian example is found in the workplace, and there is no better place for the grace of God to shine in a community than when the Christian goes to work. When God created Adam and Eve, He placed them in the garden with the command to tend the garden. Sin had not entered the world yet, but God expected His creation to work. Throughout the book of Proverbs, the Holy Spirit condemns a lazy spirit, a person who refuses to work, and those who expect to live off handouts from others. The government may pay people not to work, but the Christian must be diligent in living a quiet life and working with their hands to give glory to Jesus Christ. Paul said he preached this message to the Thessalonians. Refusing to work was sinful and brought shame to Christ.
It is hard to change the world and impact how others behave, but a Christian is a person who knows that God is their master before all men. Judgment day will not just be about whether a man has committed adultery or lied or stolen. His judgment will primarily be about something he will spend most of his life doing – working at a job. If a Christian is a lazy, slothful, and belligerent person refusing to work, he jeopardizes his soul. Churches led by courageous men will challenge those who refuse to work, citing scripture to condemn such attitudes. If a man refuses to work, note that man and do not keep company with him, that he may be ashamed.