If a man will not work, he shall not eat. 2 Thessalonians 3:10
Ants can be a bother at picnics and at other times and places. But that should not keep us from doing what the writer of Proverbs states: "Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! It ... stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest" (Proverbs 6:6-8). The fact is: While people are enjoying an outdoor picnic, the ants are working, gathering food.
The instruction is given to sluggards, lazy persons, those who sleep when they should work. They need to hear that it is through work, physical and mental, that God provides our daily bread. Jesus set us a good example of being diligent in work. Even on a day of rest He performed a work of love--He healed a lame man at the pool of Bethesda, saying: "My Father is always at His work to this very day, and I, too, am working" (John 5:17). Again, He said: "As long as it is day, we must do the work of Him who sent Me. Night is coming, when no one can work" (John 9:4).
In implying that we should work and look ahead to the future, Jesus is by no means contradicting what He said about not taking thought for tomorrow and worrying about what we will eat, drink, and wear. He is warning us against sinful worrying in that passage.
In urging us to diligence, both the writer of Proverbs and Jesus are addressing themselves to the able-bodied, not to those who are poor and needy because they are unable to work. The Proverbs author writes also this: "A generous man will himself be blessed, for he shares his food with the poor" (Proverbs 22:9). And on Judgment Day Jesus will commend the righteous for giving bread to the hungry (see Matthew 25:34-46). He does not criticize the hungry, as if to say: "Why aren't you working to earn your daily bread?" He is speaking of those who are hungry through no faith of their own.
Jesus Himself labored diligently and hard. The prophet speaks of "the suffering of His soul" (Isaiah 53:11). Through His work we are redeemed from sin and death and set free from every kind of worry. Thanks be to God for such a Savior!
PRAYER: Lord God, bless all those who do honest work. Amen.
(Devotions from "With Jesus Every Day" copyright 1997, 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 information on other devotional material, please contact CPH at 800-325-3040 or visit CPH at www.cph.org.)
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