Hello every one! Today we’re jumping into our seventh post of ten exploring what the Bible tells us about poverty. Make sure to catch up on the other posts in this series, if you haven’t read them yet.
This post today will take a slightly different look at poverty than previous verses we’ve delved into. This passage will instead speak to our personal responsibility to work.
(8) We did not eat anyone’s food free of charge; instead, we labored and struggled, working night and day, so that we would not be a burden to any of you. (9) It is not that we don’t have the right to support, but we did it to make ourselves an
d example to you so that you would imitate us. (10) In fact, when we were with you, this is what we commanded you: “If anyone isn’t willing to work, he should not eat.” 2 Thessalonians 3:8-10.
Since God created the world, we’ve been commanded to work: “The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it (Genesis 2:15). God intended for us to work and be stewards of the world he created, while doing it all to glorify Him (Colossians 3:17, Colossians 3:22-24, 1 Corinthians 10:31).
When we carry out our individual responsibility to work, we feel fulfilled because we are living how God intended and completing His purpose for us. In 1 Corinthians 12 we see how everyone has been given unique gifts and skills to make the body of Christ work. God intended for us to use these gifts to glorify Him and fulfill his purposes.
Not only do we sense our inherent dignity and purpose when we fulfill the cultural mandate, but we are likely able to earn income to support our family and contribute to the larger economy. If we have jobs, we are more likely to have family-sustaining income and thus decrease our chances of living in poverty. While material poverty is complex with many contributing factors, we cannot expect anyone to come out of poverty without working.
In fact, if we don’t fulfill our call to work, we won’t experience a true sense of fulfillment or worth because we would be disobeying what God has commanded us to do. Paul continued his letter with this encouragement though, Brothers, do not weary of doing good (2 Thessalonians 3:13).