"We used to lay down the rule that anyone who would not work should not eat." —2 Thessalonians 3:10
Jesus commands His disciples to work hard, sometimes even "day and night, laboring to the point of exhaustion" (2 Thes 3:8). Christians are not to impose on others by depending on them for food (2 Thes 3:8). It is so important for us to work hard and not to live lives of disorder (2 Thes 3:7) that we should follow "the rule that anyone who would not work should not eat" (2 Thes 3:10). If anyone does not follow this tradition about a Christian's responsibility to work, we should avoid that person (2 Thes 3:6) and even ostracize him (2 Thes 3:14). "Make it a point of honor to remain at peace and attend to your own affairs. Work with your hands as we directed you to do, so that you will give good example to outsiders and want for nothing" (1 Thes 4:11-12).
This means that, as a general rule, Christians should not be on welfare. It means that even those who are unemployed should "put in a good day's work" for the Lord each day. Work is not something we do for the money but for the Lord (Col 3:23). We "should not be working for perishable food but for food that remains unto life eternal" (Jn 6:27). Work is one of our best and most frequent opportunities to express our love for the Lord and His people. Work and eat. Work and pray. Work and love.
Prayer: Father, may people ask me questions about You because of the way I work.
Promise: "Behold, thus is the man blessed who fears the Lord" —Ps 128:4
Praise: Augustine vigorously preached and wrote against the errors that had nearly led him to hell.
Reference: (For more teaching on this subject, order our pamphlet, Job Performance For Jesus.)
Nihil Obstat: Reverend Robert J. Buschmiller, January 29, 1996
Imprimatur: †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, February 5, 1996