2 Thessalonians 3 (4)
Pray Psalm 8.1.
O LORD, our Lord,
How excellent is Your name in all the earth,
Who have set Your glory above the heavens!
Read 2 Thessalonians 3.10-12.
1. When Paul was in Thessalonica, he worked with his own hands to provide for himself and his team. Why does he recall that here?
2. If we can expect material rewards from material work, what kinds of rewards should we expect from spiritual work?
It is a consistent teaching of the apostle Paul that believers should take responsibility for meeting their own needs and the needs of those who are dependent upon them (cf. Gal. 6.4, 5; 1 Tim. 5.8). It’s clear that, in our text, Paul is talking about material needs. Each person should be responsible to do whatever employable work he can so as not to depend unnecessarily on others. At the same time, we must work to help meet the needs of those who, for one reason or another, cannot provide for themselves (cf. Eph. 4.28).
This principle applies as well to all the other work we’ve been given to do: growing in the Lord, improving our relationships, making disciples, helping to build the church, seeking the Kingdom, caring for our possessions and property as unto the Lord. We should expect to know benefit from such works, albeit a benefit which we enjoy in our souls, and not something necessarily material in nature. Satisfaction, joy, peace, growth in the Lord, contentment, thanksgiving, spiritual fruit. These are the rewards we gain when we are faithful in the work to which the Lord calls us, beyond that by which we make a living. Each of us is responsible to work for these rewards as well.
Again, the norm for the divine economy – the order God has mandated – is that His people should work, beginning with working out their salvation in fear and trembling (Phil. 2.12) and extending to the work of seeking the Kingdom, and then to providing for their own needs. Those who will not work as God commands transgress against the order of His Kingdom. They must be encouraged and assisted to take their place in the work of the Kingdom by learning faithfulness and responsibility in all the work they’ve been given to do.
1. How would you describe the work God has given you to do? What does it mean to do such work as unto the Lord (Col. 3.23)?
2. Other than material rewards, what rewards do you typically receive from the work you do (Col. 3.24)? How precious are these to you?
3. How can believers help one another to be more faithful in all the work we’ve been given to do?
Everyone, therefore, in doing his work, should place before himself the aim of service to the needy and not his own satisfaction. Thus, he will escape the charge of self-love and receive the blessing for fraternal charity from the Lord, who said, “As long as you did it to one of these, the least of my brothers, you did it to me.” Basil the Great (330-379 AD), The Long Rules, Q.42.R
Lord, help me to desire those spiritual rewards that are such a blessing to my soul, so that I…
Pray Psalm 8.
Pray for yourself, for the work God has given you to do in bringing His goodness to the world. And pray for the Christians you know, that they may do all their work as unto the Lord.
Sing to the Lord.
Psalm 8 (Aurelia: The Church’s One Foundation)
O Savior, how majestic, Your Name in all the earth!
The heav’ns display Your glory, and tell Your wondrous worth!
From babes and nursing infants, Lord, let Your strength increase,
Till all Your foes surrender, and all their boasting cease.
When I regard Your heavens, Your handiwork above,
Ordained by Your good pleasure, according to Your love,
Then what am I, O Savior, that You take thought of me?
Or I should know Your favor and thus delivered be?
Yet we in Your own image with glory have been crowned,
To worship and to serve You throughout creation ‘round.
These works that sing Your glory in our poor hands are placed,
That we may rule before You to magnify Your grace.
Let every beast and creature, in sky or sea or field,
In our hands bring You glory as we Your favor wield.
Let all things sing Your praises, let all declare Your worth!
O Savior, how majestic, Your Name in all the earth!
T. M. Moore
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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).