Paul Demonstrates an Example for Work - 2 Thessalonians 3:7-9
November 2, 2022, 8:40 AM

“For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example. We were not idle when we were with you, 8 nor did we eat anyone’s food without paying for it. On the contrary, we worked night and day, laboring and toiling so that we would not be a burden to any of you. 9 We did this, not because we do not have the right to such help, but in order to offer ourselves as a model for you to imitate.”

Paul points to himself as a pattern, or example of how important it is to work. He was so careful so as not to be accused of being a money grabber or a burden to others. It was and is proper to receive money as a minister and as a missionary even then. He wanted to set for them an example by working in his own profession of being a tent maker and repair man.

Lest some people misunderstand, Paul also teaches in 1 Cor 9:14 and 1 Tim 5:18 that churches should pay their pastors and leaders because that is a right. Jesus also taught that principle in Matt 10:10 and Luke 10:7. But some, for the sake of witness or circumstance some may not use that right.

Rabbis in that culture also learned a trade. Many were called on to use it. In some areas for a pastor to work in secular employment was also a greater advantage for ministry. I worked with a new church plant in St. Paul for a while where another friend was pastoring. They couldn't afford to pay him, so we worked out a cooperative situation where our sponsoring church paid the rent. Offerings supported by covering the expenses for materials and outreach. The pastor worked as a truck driver while being responsible for Wednesday night teaching, Tuesday evening outreach, and Sunday morning sermons. All other work was the responsibility of other members. There were people who came to that church because he was a truck driver. In their minds he was a real worker, not a “lazy minister” that only works one day a week. Incidentally, some still carry that opinion.

Paul wanted to show the Christians they are to be hard workers and pay for what they get. As Christians, it is important that we are examples for others in working hard and providing fair work for fair pay. Under communistic economic system people have little incentive to work hard because they will get their income regardless of output. When they can make some extra money for their own labors, greater output is being experienced.

Application: Could others say of you, you are a reliable, hard, and honest worker?

Prayer:  Lord, in all we do may we always reflect who we are in Christ. Oh, that we would work as working unto the Lord not to man.

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