The Lord's Work

by Dr. Ken Matto

(2 Th 3:10 KJV) For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.

One of the commands that Paul had laid down in the Scriptures to the Thessalonians is that anyone who does not work should not eat. The words “should he eat” are in the imperative mood which makes this a command. While on the surface we can safely conclude that those who are lazy and who do not want to work, these people should not be fed, which would set up a situation in their life which would force them to go out and get a job. In today’s society we have many people on the welfare roles who are strong and able bodied whereby they are able to do many different types of jobs. Many are just on there out of sheer laziness because they would rather loaf and drink or take drugs, and then when their sin finally comes to fruition, it becomes our responsibility to take care of them either in rehab or in prison. This is why God has set up society where people work. The idea that a person cannot find a job is not an excuse. The problem is that many want a job tailored to their own desires, instead of adapting to a work situation. Now this verse is tucked in the middle of a discourse concerning Christians who are busybodies and who are walking disorderly. One of the problems associated with having too much free time is that eventually disciplines which were once in place in our life begin to fade, and we then slink into a sloppy lifestyle which only leads into trouble.

One of the great things about the Bible is that while there is a surface meaning to each verse, there is also a spiritual meaning for the Christian. When we look at this verse in its context, we are seeing that the Apostle Paul was chiding the Thessalonians concerning disorderly behavior which seemed to have cropped up among this church. We can see the possible cause for this in verse 5. (2 Th 3:5 KJV) And the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God, and into the patient waiting for Christ. If you recall in the first book of Thessalonians, there was some confusion concerning the timing of the return of the Lord and these folks were concerned that they had missed the rapture. The rapture is going to come on the last day of this present world’s existence. So what took place in Thessalonica among the Christians was that instead of busying themselves in the work of the Lord, they had stopped working in the Lord’s work and instead became lazy, which resulted in a sinful lifestyle which degenerated into disorderly conduct. The problem is that they were waiting for the Lord in a state of limbo, which is a state of uncertainty. In the world, you can be arrested for disorderly conduct, but in the church it is an accepted way of life, especially in our day. What do I mean by that?

In our day there is an alarming abandonment of the study of Scripture. Laziness has crept into the life of many Christians. What we have done is traded Scriptural studies for theology and prophecy books. We have traded Scriptural studies for the words of men who tell us what they think the Bible says, and then we adapt those views as ours. We have traded Scriptural studies for the ease of our easy chair and the remote control for our TV. Do a test, on Saturday, see which has more dust on top, your Bible or your TV Guide? It will give you a good barometer as to where you are in your Christian walk and what your priorities are. When the Bible speaks about us working, it not only speaks of working a job for our sustenance, but it is working in the Lord’s fields. When we physically eat, we are giving our bodies the nutrition it needs to continue functioning. When we spiritually eat the teachings of Scripture, we are giving our spiritual lives the sustenance it needs to continue to grow. The only way we can experience this growth is if we are somehow involved in the Lord’s work. As we work, we will eat. Those who are actively involved in the Lord’s work tend to become stronger Christians and are able to withstand daily trials and tribulations. If we do not work, we will become weaker Christians and when the times of trials come our way, we will blame God and then run to a psycho-babbler and cry the blues.

Studying the Bible is eating the true spiritual food that we need. Scripture causes us to grow and gives us the ability to face trials and the daily tasks that come our way. When we try to cut corners and read books about the Bible or listen to preachers and teachers and then expect them to do our spiritual thinking for us, what we have done is to replace the true food with artificial by-products. Would you equate a good steak with a grease fried hamburger? Would you equate real mashed potatoes with grease laden French fries? Would you equate a home cooked meal with a quickly nuked Burrito? Well the answer to all these questions should be no. There is very little or no nutrition in artificially prepared foods. There is also no or very little spiritual nutrition in artificially prepared Biblical studies. How can you be sure what you are hearing or reading is truth if you do not compare it to Scripture? That takes work and when you do that work, you will eat of the heavenly blessings that come with Scriptural studies. The problem is that when you listen to preachers or teachers, or theology and prophecy books, you are taking their word for it and not God’s Word. Never buffer the word of God with the word of man, because that will lead to confusion and confusion in the Christian walk is always a progressively degenerative condition. This week, place your remote and your TV guide under your Bible and start eating the fruits of righteousness. (Deu 7:26 KJV) Neither shalt thou bring an abomination into thine house, lest thou be a cursed thing like it: but thou shalt utterly detest it, and thou shalt utterly abhor it; for it is a cursed thing. Don’t let the pro-sodomy and anti-Christian stance of all the TV networks, steal your mind. Eat at the banquet table of the Lord and not at the trough.  (12/5/03)