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Daily Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries

"The Discipline of Work"

September 7, 2004

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We hear that some among you are idle. 2 Thessalonians 3:11

There is a lazy streak in all of us. We glorify Tom Sawyer for cleverly getting his friends to do his fence painting. Our nation founded on the Puritan work ethic, has experienced a breakdown in moral fiber. We watch television for hours at a time and want to be entertained.

Paul writes the Thessalonian believers regarding a similar problem. “We hear that some among you are idle.” They expected the immediate second coming of Christ. Therefore many quit their jobs, sat around idly, became busybodies and gossips. Paul strongly condemns idleness: “If a man will not work, he shall not eat” (2 Thessalonians 3:10).

The problem of idleness stands in sharp contrast to God’s purpose of work. Paul urges them “to settle down and earn the bread they eat” (v. 12). Work involves a daily discipline of work. However, in the routine and drudgery of everyday life we often lose sight of God’s purpose for work.

Only God can supply the power for the work in our lives. Paul writes, “We command and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to … earn the bread they eat” (2 Thessalonians 3:12). God sent His Son to work for the world. A carpenter’s son, Jesus worked tirelessly to proclaim the kingdom of God, to heal the sick, and to teach the disciples. He endured the suffering of the cross for us. His saving work complete, He offers us free salvation based on faith and not the works of the Law. Free from earning salvation, we can work while it is day to serve Him before the night comes when no man can work (John 9:4). Yes, the discipline of daily work provides the foundation for a life of Gospel service.

PRAYER: Dear Father, bless our daily work to Your glory, because of the finished work on the cross of Your Son Jesus Christ. Amen.

(Devotions from “My Daily Devotion” by Dr. Stephen J. Carter, copyright 1988 CPH. All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication may be printed, reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior written permission of Concordia Publishing House. Permission is granted for one-time emailing of this link to a friend. For ordering information, please contact CPH at 800-325-3040 or visit

Today's Bible Readings: Isaiah 1-2    2 Corinthians 11:16-33

Change Their World. Change Yours. This changes everything.

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