Our theme for this month: “Personal Responsibility”
Our Bible verse for today: “If anyone isn’t willing to work, he should not eat.”
2 Thessalonians 3:10 (CSB)
Our thought for today: “God expects us to support ourselves”
Today is Labor Day and so I thought it would be good to write a devotional about the personal responsibility we have to work and to support ourselves.
Labor Day is a national holiday intended to celebrate the contributions American workers make to our nation. Although some other countries have also come to celebrate Labor Day, it’s a distinctly American holiday. We celebrate it on the first Monday of September and it can be dated to the early 1880s. It became a national holiday in 1894.
The celebration of Labor Day helps us to remember the importance of hard work, and the personal responsibility we each have to work in order to support ourselves and to provide for those who depend on us. Having a job was God’s idea. He established the concept early in the creation story when He assigned Adam the responsibility of caring for the Garden of Eden. Then, all throughout Scripture, work is portrayed as a good thing not a bad thing. The Proverbs especially praise hard work and diligence, and they condemn laziness and poor performance.
In 2 Thessalonians 3:10 the Apostle Paul went so far as to say if an individual will not work then he shall not eat. He was referring to people who can work but don’t, and who then rely on other people or the government to provide for them. Paul taught that we should let such people go hungry rather than giving them hand-outs. The idea is that if they get hungry enough, they will get a job so they can earn some money and buy their own food.
Paul’s instruction may sound harsh and cold, but he’s teaching us not to enable bad behavior. God wants us to work if we can. If someone can work but doesn’t, and you then enable them in their chosen unemployment by providing them with the things they ought to be earning for themselves, you are enabling them to continue disobeying God.
Granted, this requires discernment and good judgment. It’s difficult to know all the reasons behind someone’s current circumstances. So we don’t want to be insensitive or unkind, but we also don’t want to enable bad behavior.
I hope you enjoy your Labor Day holiday today. I encourage you get good rest and some relaxation too, so tomorrow you will be ready to go back out there and do your part to provide for yourself and for those who depend on you.