Summary: This message deals with the neccessity for the church to be willing to work together rather than take a watch and see position.

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2 Thes. 3:10 (KJV)

For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.

Over the past number of years, I honestly cannot count the number of times that I have seen the scene played over. There he is on the side of a busy intersection in big cities and small towns. I don’t know if it is just me or if you feel this way, but I am leery of tossing money in the coffers of strangers. I do, however, recall a verse of scripture that says;

“Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.” Hebrews 13:2 (KJV)

So suffice it to say, I am careful not to snub my nose at those who are legitimately down and out, those who have “fallen on hard times.” It hasn’t been too many years ago that Tammy and I needed the help of others in the body of Christ to make it through a difficult time.

As I preach this message today you must understand, I am not slighting those who, for no fault of their own have reached a place in their life where they must have help from others to make ends meet. This message is not directed at those who are legitimately disabled or to those who are not doing their dead level best to provide for their family. I have many wonderful friends who are disabled, and would trade their disabilities in a heart beat for the ability to work and make a living for their families. As a matter of fact I am not actually preaching to the natural side of this issue at all. While I do believe that when the scriptures say, “Whoever doesn’t want to work shouldn’t be allowed to eat." 2 Thes. 3:10 (GW) , that God is very adamant that each of us have a responsibility to do our best to hold down a job. In effect what the apostle Paul is saying is, if you aren’t willing to do your best for the Lord don’t run around waiting for a hand out.

I am convinced that this has as much to do with our church life or spiritual life, as it does with our secular life. I stopped at an intersection in a major city one day, waiting for the light to turn green. There he was to my right and up several cars with a cardboard sign in his hand and a large box to his left. The sign read, “Will work for food” but I noticed something as I watched a car pull over and a man jumped out and ran a bag of food from a restaurant chain over to where this man sat. He accepted the bag and as soon as this kind hearted gentleman turned to run back to his car, I watched him open the box to his left and place this bag of food in the box. The thing that interested me was the fact the box was jammed full of fast food bags and all of them from my vantage point seemed to be full. Food to last several days, but interestingly he never ate, he just sat back down and held out the sign. Two questions filled my mind as the light turned green and I drove off.

One: Was he really looking for food?

Two: Would he really Work?

I have seen too many news reports of professional bums. Panhandlers who make over $50,000 per year and do nothing but prey on the kindness of people who work 40-60 hours per week.

Now friend what I am about to say will make those of you who are guilty mad but I must say it anyway. There are professional panhandlers in the pews of every church in America.

They won’t teach a Sunday school class for nothing but they want God to drop all of heaven on their lap. Don’t even think about asking them to work the nursery, or impose on them to mow the grass or clean the church.

Friend, listen to me this morning. The old song was correct, “Jesus has a table spread where the saints of God or fed, and he invites His chosen people come and dine” but, there is something wrong with our doctrine when we preach and teach that it’s all about the food but we don’t challenge the body of Christ to get busy and fulfill the great commission.

James 2:20-22 (KJV)

But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? [21] Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? [22] Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?

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