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Get On With Your Work

1 Thessalonians 4:11-12
… 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. (NIVUK)

Greek culture considered that philosophy and thinking were superior to manual work. They loved to spend hours debating rather than engaging in productive work – they had slaves to do the menial tasks. Probably much of the world now thinks the same. High energy executives may cause great disturbance among the workforce as they try out their latest ideas, always seeking a new profitable opportunity.
It is not wrong to be entrepreneurial or to make profit or to employ people. Business needs ideas people, energy and good management, but God looks at their hearts. Managers are paid more than workers, and have responsibility for many workers, but that does make them morally superior. Nor does it mean that manual work is wrong or to be despised. In God's kingdom, the attitude matters more than the activity.
The godly man and woman will have a quiet spirit. They are content in the Lord and are willing to accept His leading. They lead with confidence because they know they are being led by the One who knows everything. They have no need to flap, disturb others or interfere with other people's responsibilities. The best treatment for management mania is some physical activity serving people, as Jesus demonstrated (John 13:12-17). Everybody should work hard and not be lazy, so that their pay is well earned, they can support themselves and their families, and share with others (2 Thessalonians 3:11-13).
The church should especially honour manual workers, trades people, home makers and carers. Without them the fabric of society and home-life would collapse. Those whose work is more mental than physical should read these verses again. They should be encouraged to know what their job is and do it well knowing that they also have a Master in heaven (Colossians 4:1). Manual workers should not consider themselves inferior in the church (or be made to feel inferior) but work hard, as unto the Lord (Colossians 3:23).

Gracious Master. Thank You for this clear teaching about my attitude at work. Forgive me for either laziness, not respecting others in the workforce, aggressive management or allowing myself to feel despised. Please help me to work hard to supply the needs of my family and to give to others, and teach me the value of physical work in which I can serve other people for Your sake. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams