2 Thessalonians 3:10, “Those unwilling to work will not get to eat.”
In his letter to the Thessalonians, Paul was advising them that those unwilling to work will not get to eat. Evidently, some of them are refusing to work, but had ample time to meddle with other people’s business. So Paul rebuked them and told them to find a job. And if they refuse, he warned the Thessalonians to stay away with these “unwilling to work” believers that they may be ashamed of themselves.
It appears that Paul was not happy with these people. The following verses give insight to understand where Paul was coming from.
“Paul lived and worked with them, for they were tent makers just as he was.” (Acts 18:3 NLT)
“You know that these hands of mine have worked to supply my own needs and even the needs of those who were with me.” (Acts 20:34)
“For the next two years, Paul lived in Rome at his own expense.” (Acts 28:30)
The verses above affirm that Paul had a secular job even though he was called to be a preacher. He said that he had to work in order to support himself and help those who were with him. It shows that Paul expects believers to be financially independent, able to help, and not a burden to anyone.
When Jesus was here on earth, He had to support himself and his twelve disciples while preaching and teaching for three and a half years. He had a financial income of some sort; otherwise He didn’t need Judas to be His treasurer. Also, Jesus paid taxes to Caesar, another proof that He had some income while on earth. Like Paul, Jesus was never a burden to anybody.
From the beginning of time God pronounced, “By the sweat of your brow will you have food to eat until you return to the ground from which you were made…” (Genesis 3:19). It is God’s commandment to work for food. It is not easy money, but man has to sweat for it.
Therefore, there is no such thing as free meal on planet earth. Somebody had paid for it before giving it away for free. Out of a good heart a meal was prepared and shared to the needy.
However, when you made a decision to violate God’s commandment/principles, adverse consequences follows. Refusing to work begets hunger, and then poverty, and then deterioration of self. A possible extreme result is a commission of a crime. And that is rebellion against God.
Listen to this practical approach to being a responsible person, “Give a man a fish, feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, feed him for a lifetime.”