Those who work their land will have abundant food,
but those who chase fantasies have no sense.
The hardworking farmer should be the first to receive a share of the crops.
2 Timothy 2:6
In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we command you, brothers and sisters, to keep away from every believer who is idle and disruptive and does not live according to the teaching you received from us. 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 imitate. For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.”
2 Thessalonians 3:6-10
If Jesus is your Lord you don’t get to come home to entertainment and leave dishes undone, your apartment a mess, your car piled with fast food garbage, and the like.
With a world of entertainment available to us at the push of a button or a few clicks of the mouse, it’s incredibly easy to coast through life doing the bare minimum amount of work. This is especially true for young adults in the stage of life where you’re living on your own, unmarried, without kids, and without any significant responsibilities. It’s so simple to work a job that pays the bills, come home each day and spend the evening (or afternoon or morning, depending on what your work shift is) watching tv or playing video games or fiddling around on some social media outlet.
I want to declare that if you’re a follower of Jesus that must not be your method of life.
Those who don’t work don’t eat
Paul’s word to the Thessalonians are harsh to our American ears. “Keep away from every believer who is idle and disruptive and does not live according to the teaching you received from us…’The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.’” Apparently to the apostle idleness is as significant a sin as adultery, since he also tells the Corinthians to do treat an adulterous person in a similar way (1 Cor. 5).
This ought to be a challenge to us, my friends. Are our lives marked by idleness? Do we spend more time relaxing and being entertained than we do being productive and serving others? There is a time for rest, but don’t forget that God set aside one day for sabbath and six days for work. As the wise writer of Proverbs declared, “Those who work their land will have abundant food, but those who chase fantasies have no sense.” (12:11)
This truth goes beyond the physical reality. Though in his letter to the Thessalonians Paul is addressing people who are benefitting by eating physical food without working for it, the principle stands in a spiritual sense as well. Those who don’t “work their land” spiritually won’t eat and will have malnourished spirits. Those who sit by and expect others to provide the food for their spiritual selves will not grow.
Work like Jesus
Let’s stop chasing fantasies in movies, novels, and video games and instead be the hardworking farmer who follows the Master into the fields daily to sow, water, and reap. I want us, my brothers and sisters in Christ who are still young, to be able to say with the Apostle, “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 imitate.”
Young adult, work hard. Let your life be a model for those who come after you. Work like Jesus, who gave his life to the labor that the Father had placed before him. Your reward will be riches that go far beyond this life and far outweigh the momentary pleasure of spending every evening being entertained.