2 Thessalonians 3:7-12
2 Th 3:7 (KJB)
For yourselves know how ye ought to follow us: for we behaved not ourselves disorderly among you;
Here Paul brings up the fact of his own testimony to the fact that when he was with them, he did not walk disorderly among them and he wants the Thessalonians to follow the pattern which Paul laid down and that is not to be a burden to anyone but to be a good testimony. He was not idle and when there was work to be done, he would show up to do it. Paul showed diligence and that is what he wanted them to show. Paul had a heart for others which does away with self-centeredness and he wanted to impart those principles to them.
2 Th 3:8 (KJB)
Neither did we eat any man's bread for nought; but wrought with labour and travail night and day, that we might not be chargeable to any of you:
Nought - Freely
Chargeable - Burden or be heavy upon
When Paul had gone to Thessalonica to preach the gospel, he did not solicit from anyone room, board, or even free meals. He chose to work and to pay his way. I am sure that he was invited to the homes of some for a meal or times of fellowship. His method was not to be a burden to anyone by forcing them to pay his expenses. If someone wanted to donate to their ministry, it would have been welcomed and accepted but Paul did not coerce anyone into supporting him because he wanted the gospel to be preached without any hindrances whatsoever. This method of evangelism is practiced by many Christians throughout the world as they work and use their resources for spreading the gospel. They do not need to rely on someone else. A person who works can buy a load of tracts and go to the streets and pass them out and never burden another with the cost of them.
2 Th 3:9 (KJB)
Not because we have not power, but to make ourselves an ensample unto you to follow us.
Power - Authority
Here Paul is making another statement concerning the support of his ministry. He wanted them to know that he does have the authority to ask for support of his ministry. (1 Cor 9:14 KJV) Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel. He did not want to do this because he knew that there would be many who would quit working and attempt to make a living in the ministry but only use that as a mask for laziness. Paul wanted to set an example for them that it is possible to work and then use those funds to support your own ministry. This way there would be more Christians involved in ministry. Rather than twenty supporting one, twenty could support twenty and that means nineteen more Christians involved in ministry.
One of the biggest traps we have today is that thousands of Christians support one ministry and their commitment stops there. That one ministry becomes the mouthpiece for them. Let us say 50,000 Christians support a certain ministry. Can you imagine if these fifty thousand Christians would give only a portion to the ministry of their choice and then the rest for their own ministry, that would mean instead of one man doing the ministry, there would be 50,000 Christians doing ministry. Multiply this by the many ministries out there and if this simple plan was followed, the world would be inundated with Christian materials instead of one man in ministry paying himself $3 million dollars a year and buying a personal jet and staying in 5 star hotels. This would also force the frauds out of the ministry especially if they saw their million dollar incomes fading away and it would cause Christians to be much wiser who they give to.
2 Th 3:10 (KJB)
For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.
Here the Apostle Paul is reminding them that those who are lazy and disorderly among the brethren should not be given handouts. It is a different situation if a person is disabled and unable to work and maybe they could use a little help with daily life, but those who are able bodied and can work, are not to be allowed to live a lazy lifestyle. God commands that everyone is to work and that command came back in the Garden of Eden. Another fact, is that those who give to lazy people are actually partaking of their sin. One who enables sin is as guilty as those who do the sinning. This verse goes back to verse 6 that Christians are to withdraw from those who live lives of laziness and withdrawing does not mean supporting the indolent.
2 Th 3:11 (KJB)
For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies.
Disorderly - Idly or irresponsibly
Busybodies - Do something useless or unnecessary, meddling
Even though the Thessalonian church was doing well spiritually, they were still made up of humans and some of them will do what they can to get by without ever contributing anything positive to the church. Here Paul is stating that he knows there are some who are living their lives irresponsibly as they are not working, better yet, they are refusing to work. Laziness never results in anything good or useful. In fact here, the word “busybodies” means doing something useless. Whenever people do nothing and make laziness their lifestyle, they will accomplish nothing and will just be burdens on other people, if the other people allow that. If no one supported lazy people, then when they get hungry enough, they will go to work. Lazy people are the bane of progress in anything whether it be sacred or secular. In the state of Illinois, they passed a law that if someone is on welfare, they are to put in between four and six hours per day doing work for the state such as cleaning up the highways or working wherever is needed. What happened was, the indolent on welfare had decided that welfare was their entitlement and the majority refused to put in that minimal time. The state cancelled their welfare and reduced the welfare roll by 90%.
2 Th 3:12 (KJB)
Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread.
Quietness - Peace or silence
Paul is laying down a command that those who are living the indolent lifestyle are to quickly forsake it and find work. If some of these Christians were out of work for a while, instead of them trying to live a lazy, begging lifestyle, they should have used the time wisely in sending forth the gospel instead of becoming idle and irresponsible. There were times when I was out of work, I was able to go out to the streets for a few hours and hand out tracts. In the meantime, I was still actively looking for work. Paul is exhorting these Christians that they find work and be in quietness, that is, not to disturb or go around imposing themselves on others. In other words, it is time to clean up their lives and to live like others who are working and living disciplined lives. One of the traits of the lazy person is that there is no discipline in their lives, if there were, they would not be lazy. They are to work, and buy their own food and sustenance so they will not be begging others for food and being a burden to others.]