Need a little encouragement in the middle of your week? Start your Wednesday's off right! Renew your spirit and refresh your soul.
How do we know how we are supposed to live as Christians? The best way is always to follow the example of Jesus and those who followed Him. Jesus was a carpenter, Andrew and Peter and other disciples were fishermen, Mathew was a tax collector. What do they all have in common, they were willing to work hard in their occupation before following Jesus. My guess is if Jesus knew they would work hard to support themselves, the disciples would work all the more to further Jesus's message. While we know God will provide for our needs, we are still called to work hard and earn our keep. Colossians 3:23-24 also tells us "whatever we do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving." In other words, work hard in whatever task you are doing as if everything you do is work for the Lord.
Even when the disciples were on mission to spread Jesus's message, they were willing to work in order to not be a burden to the church in Thessalonica. Their rule was "the one who is unwilling to work shall not eat." (v. 10). Although rest and relaxation are also a necessity, so is working to earn what you need to support yourself. What do we fill our time with if we are not working? More time can leave the door open for more opportunity to slip into sin. When Paul refers to being a busy-body, he is referring to be a gossip.
As Christians we are called to support the widow and the orphan and people who are in need. We all go through hardships. Sometimes people need help to get back on their feet. Christians should always be willing to lend a hand or a meal. However, Paul is referencing a different situation. Some members of the Thessalonian church were choosing not to work, because they were falsely being taught. Some Thessalonians thought they should quit their jobs and set aside responsibilities and just wait for Jesus to return. These members may have thought they were being more spiritual than others, but they ended up being a burden to the church who had to support them and many fell into sin.
The Bible does send a clear message on idleness. We are to work hard and always put in our best efforts. There is a difference between unable and unwilling. So when in doubt, work hard as if whatever task you are doing is dedicated to the Lord.