Called to Work

It is God's order for the divine economy.

2 Thessalonians 3 (3)

Pray Psalm 85.4-7.
Restore us, O God of our salvation,
And cause Your anger toward us to cease.
Will You be angry with us forever?
Will You prolong Your anger to all generations?
Will You not revive us again,
That Your people may rejoice in You?
Show us Your mercy, LORD,
And grant us Your salvation.

Read 2 Thessalonians 3.6-9.

1. What do you suppose Paul means by disorderly? Is there any disorderliness in your life? 

2. What work has God given us to do?

The word disorderly (NKJV) may at first seem inadequate to translate the Greek, ἀτακτέω, which means “to refuse to engage in the efforts of work, to do nothing.” I think we’ll see it’s actually a very good choice.

In every church, I suppose, there are people who don’t take part in the work of the Gospel – either working out their own salvation, doing those good works that bring salvation to light, or working in various ways to support the church’s work of making God’s Good News known. They were there in Thessalonica, and Paul warned against them in 1 Thessalonians 5.14, as he does again here.

Such people don’t want to invest the time and effort essential for growing in the Lord, working their Personal Mission Field, and helping the church in its calling as a sign and outpost of the Kingdom of God. Their salvation is good enough for them, and they see no need to exert themselves further.

It’s a serious offense against the divine order for those who claim to be saved to fail in taking up the work we’ve been given to do. This includes, of course, the work by which we support ourselves and our loved ones, as we shall see. But the work we’ve been given to do within the divine economy is greater than the job at which we work. And when believers refuse to work – at their salvation, at good works, in the work of the church – then they are living contrary to God’s order and are therefore leading disorderly lives. Such believers are to be warned (1 Thess. 5.14) and then, if they persist, avoided (v. 6).

Paul again invokes his own example of working to support himself and his team even as he did the work of evangelizing the lost and organizing the church in Thessalonica (v. 7). People were made for work (Gen. 2.15). Believers have been saved for good works (Eph. 2.8-10). Without engaging in the work of the Gospel, it is impossible to demonstrate the reality of it (Jms. 2.14-17).

Our duty toward one another in the Body of Christ is what Paul demonstrates here, to stimulate one another to love and good works (Heb. 10.24). Not to take up the work of the Gospel is disorderly.

1. How would you explain to a new believer the work God has appointed for us within His divine economy? 

2. Meditate on Hebrews 10.24. What are some ways you can encourage other believers to be more consistent and fruitful in the work they’ve been given to do?

3. Like Paul, we set an example for other believers by our work. Can you see any ways you could improve the example you are setting?

We have reason to fear, therefore, lest, perchance, on the day of judgment this fault also may be alleged against us, since he who has endowed us with the ability to work demands that our labor be proportioned to our capacity. For the Lord says, “To whom they have committed much, of him they will demand much.” Basil the Great (330-379 AD), The Long Rules, Q.37.R

Show me the work You have prepared for me today, O Lord, and help me to…

Pray Psalm 85.

Pray for God to restore and revive His people, and pray that He will prepare you for those good works of righteousness that He has prepared for your path today.

Sing to the Lord.
Psalm 85 (Lyons: O Worship the King)
O Lord, You Your favor showed to Your land;
Your people You saved by Your mighty hand.
Their sins You forgave, all Your wrath You withdrew;
You turned back the anger which to them was due.

Restore us, O God, renew us in peace,
And cause all Your wrath against us to cease.
Will You evermore all Your wrath to us show?
Revive us that we may Your joy again know.

Lord, show us Your love; restore us, we pray!
And help us to hear the words that You say.
Speak peace to Your people; in truth let us stand.
We fear You; let glory and grace fill our land.

In Jesus God’s grace and truth are combined;
Both goodness and peace in Him do we find.
Truth springs from the earth as He walks in our midst,
And righteousness flows from the heav’ns as a gift.

The Lord by His grace will give what is good;
Our land will produce abundance of food.
And righteousness will go before the Lord’s face,
And make of His footsteps a way in this place.

T. M. Moore

Where do 1 and 2 Thessalonians fit in the unfolding of God’s covenant? Order our workbook, God’s Covenant, and find out how all Scripture fits within this redemptive framework (click here).

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Introduction to Biblical Theology, can help you gain a better overall understanding of the narrative and primary themes of Scripture, and of the best ways of approaching the study of God’s Word. For more information, or to enroll in this free course, watch this brief video (click here).

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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All psalms for singing adapted from The Ailbe Psalter. All quotations from Church Fathers from Ancient Christian Commentary Series, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006).All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (available by clicking here).

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT. 

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