Keep Working - The Warrior's Journey®

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“In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we command you, brothers and sisters, to keep away from every believer who is idle…. For you 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.  For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.”  We hear that some among you are idle and disruptive. …Such people we command and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and earn the food they eat. And as for you, brothers and sisters, never tire of doing what is good.” (2 Thessalonians 3:6-8, 10-13) 

In Paul’s two letters to the Thessalonians there is an emphasis on the Lord’s coming and God’s judgments that follow. But all this teaching on the Lord’s return had one unintended effect within the church. While it motivated most to work all the harder for Jesus, others saw it as a reason to do no work at all.   

Those who viewed work as a curse saw the immanence of Christ’s return as an excuse to do nothing. “Why work, why build, why grow – if Jesus is coming to catch us all away. Let’s sell our possessions, quit our jobs, and watch the skies for Jesus’ return.” Perhaps these believers were even criticizing those who weren’t spiritual enough to follow their example. However, when the Lord didn’t return according to their timeline, the food ran out and these “spiritual saints” began to be in need and sponge off others.   

One of the most famous examples of believers using the Lord’s return as an excuse to quit working, sell their possessions, and only wait for Christ took place in the first half of the Nineteenth Century. Charles Miller led a large group of believers in New England to do nothing but wait for the Lord’s return. When Jesus didn’t come back as Miller predicted, many lost what little faith they had and believed no longer.   

This practice has never worked. This is for two reasons. First, Jesus told us that we would not know the day or hour when He would return (Matthew 24:36-44, 50). Second, Jesus taught His disciples never to be idle in light of His sudden return, but rather to stay all the busier in the work of the Lord. “Do business until I return,” is what the master told his servant in the Parable of the Minas (Luke 19:13). “Who is the faithful and wise servant?” asked Jesus. “Isn’t it the servant who keeps on laboring to provide food for his fellow servants?” (Matthew 24:45-51).  But Jesus warned against idleness. Look also at His judgment against that “lazy, wicked slave” who wasted his master’s money in the Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30). Jesus condemned such idleness, and so does Paul in this chapter. Let’s stay busy serving Jesus. 


  • Doesn’t God command us to provide for our families (1 Timothy 5:8)? How then could it serve God’s purpose to quit our jobs and stop doing this? 
  • Are there other Scriptures that praise work as something good and noble?  (See: Proverbs 6:6-11; 10:5-5, 26; 12:11, 27; 13:4; 14:4, 23-24) 

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