Does God expect a person to do nothing while relying upon Him for their welfare (i.e., food, lodging, etc.)?

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Does God expect a person to do nothing while relying upon Him for their welfare (i.e., food, lodging, etc.)?

Post by Admin on Tue Jan 26, 2016 12:49 am

YES—God expects us to work. The apostle Paul is a great example of someone who was completely devoted to the work of the Lord—preaching and teaching in the synagogues, founding churches, training up leaders—living in dependence on God for everything (including, quite often, his very survival) and yet, we know he worked—as a tentmaker (his actual vocation), joining fellow tentmakers Aquila and Priscilla at their work as he came to minister in Corinth (Acts 18:1-3). He affirmed work as an integral part of his lifestyle, telling the church leadership in Ephesus, I have not coveted anyone’s silver or gold or clothing. You yourselves know that these hands of mine have supplied my own needs and the needs of my companions—Paul, Acts 20:33-34. Work is a way that God provides to those in need. As Paul said to the church at Ephesus, He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need—Paul, Ephesians 4:28. God has also established work as a means of witness; as Paul pointed out to the Colossian church, Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to win their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord. Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving—Paul, Colossians 3:22-24. Paul was able to boast in the Lord of this perspective in writing his first letter to the church at Thessalonica, as he reminded that church of the ordinary necessary work they performed in addition to their ministry labors: As apostles of Christ we could have been a burden to you, but we were gentle among you, like a mother caring for her little children. We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us. Surely you remember, brothers, our toil and hardship; we worked night and day in order not to be a burden to anyone while we preached the gospel of God to you—Paul, I Thessalonians 2:6b-9. And it was that same example that he tried to impress onto that church: Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to 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—Paul, I Thessalonians 4:11-12. Work can be a great witness, so much so that Paul essentially repeated the same thought in his second letter to that same congregation: 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 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—Paul, II Thessalonians 3:7-12. At the other end of the spectrum, the Bible teaches against idleness. In the book of Proverbs, it says, Lazy hands make a man poor, but diligent hands bring wealth—Proverbs 10:4. And Proverbs also says, Laziness brings on deep sleep, and the shiftless man goes hungry—Proverbs 19:15. Finally, Solomon writes in Ecclesiastes, If a man is lazy, the rafters sag; if his hands are idle, the house leaks—Ecclesiastes 10:18. Clearly, there is no rescue for the man who sits on the gifts and abilities God has given him and does nothing.

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