Summary: Christian parents need to model and teach a good work ethic.
The apostle Paul gives us a powerful word here about the value of industry. He says that the people of God should be known as an industrious people. Apparently, some of the folks at Thessalonica did not heed Paul’s instructions given here, because in 2 Thessalonians 3:6-13, Paul wrote again about this matter.
"In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we command you, brothers, to keep away from every brother who is idle and does not live according to the teaching you received from us. For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example. We were not idle when we were with you, 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. We did this, not because we do not have the right to such help, but in order to make ourselves a model for you to follow. For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: ‘If a man will not work, he shall not eat.’ We hear that some among you are idle. They are not busy; they are busybodies. Such people we command and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and earn the bread they eat. And as for you, brothers, never tire of doing what is right."
- 2 Thessalonians 3:6-13 (NIV)
We note that Paul’s solution to a person being a busy-body is to put them to work. F.F. Bruce points out that, "There is a great difference between the Christian duty of putting the interests of others first and the busybody’s compulsive itch to put other people right."
Paul is concerned that God’s people not become a bunch of busy-bodies, justifying their intrusion into the lives of others as being "in the name of the Lord." Instead, he encouraged God’s people to be industrious, so that they might be delivered from the temptation to be a busy-body, and instead, be in a position to truly bless others in Jesus name as a result of their work ethic.
Instead of being a busy-body, Paul says, make you body busy by working with you own hands. In other words, be productive through work. As you endeavor to be a productive member of society, you will also be a productive member of the kingdom of God.
We live in a society that has mixed views on work. On the one hand, we have a nation of workaholics. People working 60, 70, 80 hours a week out of a driving compulsion to "get ahead." People who arrive to work early, stay late, and bring their work home with them.
On the other hand, of course, we have a nation that worships pleasure and entertainment. We work our jobs only to get a paycheck. We live from the time we punch out till the time we punch back in again. Work is only an necessary evil that allows us to do the things we really want to do.
As Christians, we need to have a balanced view of work. The Bible tells us that Christian families should value industry and productivity. Why?
1. Through work, we can live self-sufficiently in this world.
Paul says that through self-sufficiency, the Christian will win the respect of an unbelieving world. Unfortunately, many professing Christians have brought a reproach to the name of Christ through their lack of industry and productivity.