IDLENESS is the Devil's PLAYGROUND: "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." (2 Thess 3:7-12)
Apostle Paul made tents in order to provide for his needs whenever this became necessary on his missionary journeys (Acts 18:1–3). He did not abandon his tent-making work even though he was expecting Christ to come back at any moment (1 Thess. 4:17a). No one could accuse Paul of planting himself in someone’s home and eating the food which someone else’s toil had earned. He earned his own living while he was preaching the gospel. This meant long days and weary nights, but Paul was determined that he would not be a burden to anyone!
The teaching that Christ could return at any moment had led some of the believers in Thessalonica into idleness. They had quit their jobs and were simply waiting for Him to come. After giving his own example, Apostle Paul makes a general statement: If a person will not work, he/she should not eat! This statement applies to those unwilling to work, not to those unable to work. Let us understand that idleness breeds sin. Those who are disorderly, not working at all, become busybodies, causing trouble and division in the church.
Paul’s example also bears upon the reputation of churches and ministries today. Is there any reason why modern Christian leaders shouldn’t at least consider doing as Paul did—earning a living outside the ministry to support their basic needs? Dorothy L. Sayers has made the following statement:
“Work is not primarily a thing one does to live, but the thing one lives to do. It is, or should be, the full expression of the worker’s faculties, the thing in which he finds spiritual, mental and bodily satisfaction, and the medium in which he offers himself to God.”
We are thus commanded and exhorted by Apostle Paul to work with the best of our ability and earn our own living to take care of our own needs. This is a good testimony that glorifies 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." (Col 3:23-24) "Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need." (Eph 4:28)