“Make it your goal to live a quiet life, minding your own business and working with your hands, just as we instructed you before. Then people who are not believers will respect the way you live, and you will not need to depend on others” (1 Thessalonians 4.11-12 NLT).
Paul urges Christians to work, so they will not have to be dependent on others. This doesn’t mean people shouldn’t need each other. We are all unique parts of One Body (the Church), and we each rely on others to fulfill their purpose. We may fall behind in different seasons of life, and we may need our family and friends to help us back up. But as mature adults, we should to be self-reliant. We each can have work (purpose) that we can commit to that makes us feel satisfied and accomplished. This doesn’t necessary mean we have to earn a paycheck. Many mothers, missionaries and volunteers work without getting paid or they may get paid very little. In a sense they do rely on others to meet their financial needs, but they are working for something greater than a paycheck. They are helping their families, communities and world by the work of their hands. God has a purpose for us on this earth and it undoubtedly involves some form of work. If we are consistent at our work and conduct ourselves honorably, people will respect how we live and sense that there is supernatural force that is guiding us. Then maybe they will look beyond our work and into the heart of a God Who loves and cares for them.
“Be careful to live properly among your unbelieving neighbors. Then even if they accuse you of doing wrong, they will see your honorable behavior, and they will give honor to God when he judges the world” (1 Peter 2.12 NLT).