by Carolyn Schnitt

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;

in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6

The above verses encourage me to look to the Lord in order to understand what is meant when I read different parts of scripture.  

In Matthew 6:26-31, Jesus alludes to birds and wildflowers as examples of how God cares for creatures and beautiful plants to encourage us humans not to worry but to trust in His love and provision for us. 

 Taken from the context of Jesus’ own life experience, it might give the idea that because God takes care of the birds and flowers, Jesus is against hard work, but that is not true. Jesus knew what it meant to work for a living. Mark 6:3 mentions Jesus as the carpenter, and Matthew 13:55 mentions him as the carpenter’s son.   

In Paul’s letters to the different churches, he reminds people of how they should honor God by doing honest work; he warns against being idle and gives himself as an example of working even when he and other apostles had a right to be paid.

  • In I Thessalonians 4:9-12, Paul commends the brothers and sisters living there on their love for each other, and he encourages them in their daily life:

Now about your love for one another we do not need to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love each other. And in fact, you do love all of God’s family throughout Macedonia. Yet we urge you, brothers and sisters, to do so more and more, and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody. 

  • In II Thessalonians 3:6-10, it appears that some people ”in solo”, were not working and were causing problems, so Paul called them out:

In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we command you, brothers and sisters, to keep away from every believer who is idle and disruptive 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 offer ourselves as a model for you to imitate. For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.” 

  • In Colossians 3:23-24, Paul tells them what kind of attitude to have as we work:

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. 

  • In Philippians 4:4-9, Paul encourages his readers in our thoughts and actions: 

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

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