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« What Do You Plan to Do in Retirement? | Main | Happy Labor Day »

September 06, 2009

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Hi,

I am a casual reader and occasional commenter to your posts.

I have interesting conversations with a friend/co-wroker about hermeneutics and reading the Bible with the goal of understanding the message the author intended to convey...i.e., reading to understand, not to justify our pre-suppositions or prejudices.

I read one of the passges you quoted in context of the chapter: For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: "If a man will not work, he shall not eat." 2 Thessalonians 3:10

I was intrigued about how...well, forceful and direct the commandment sounded. It initially read that that persons should not be charitable to those who will not work, and that didn't jibe with my understanding of charity. So, I read the entire chapter on http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=2%20Thessalonians+3&version=KJV

I stopped at the chapter, and did not lookup to whom the chapter was addressed in context.

It seems the verse is actually describing the evangalizing Christians, or witnessing Christians not persons at large. The message seems to be that when *we* Christians are out and about witnessing in "disorderly" communities (presuming that to mean non-saved), then we should not take charity from them, but work to show how we earn our bread. That we are not asking to be kept up by others. That smacks more of a jab at the televangalists who have million dollar jets and gold-plated toilets that the "common man" who doesn't have a job but needs food/shelter/clothing.

I will say this, perhaps I am reading my own message into this, as I can see how others can legitimately read the chapter differently.

Just interesting how a fuller perspective may open the interpretation up rather than relying on a verse to send a message that is different than intended...

Perhaps your bible-study can elaborate on the context and message of the chapter or book for us?

PS A new favorite of mine as far as "whip it out" Bible verse is now:

11For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are *busybodies*.

12Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread.

For some reason that reminded me of Gen. 14:23-24 when Abram refused to take any gifts from the king of Sodom:

23That I will not take from a thread even to a shoelatchet, and that I will not take any thing that is thine, lest thou shouldest say, I have made Abram rich:

24Save only that which the young men have eaten, and the portion of the men which went with me, Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre; let them take their portion.

The verse I like regarding work happens to be Ecc. 9:10:

Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might.

You can never go wrong in any work you do if you just give it everything you've got. When I think about that, it takes me back to Joseph and how by doing well at everything he was assigned (and by being blessed) he gained respect in all capacities and eventually became the ruler of Egypt. Maybe that is a legitimate conclusion to take from it.

I have one small contribution to make - Christians need to start looking at work and productivity as good things. What I mean by this is that there are many churches who villianize money and wealth. But ask yourself, what is money? It is purchasing power. You gain money through work. Work is good for both us as individuals, the rest of our world, and finally our future.

The more we progress the "better" life will be here on earth. Look at medical advances - brain surgery, bypass surgery, etc. have allowed people to live who otherwise would have died.

Work is something Christianity should embrace!

Wow these are some power quotes.

Glad to see not much has changed since the time of Christ. The world is essentially what you make it. You were born with the tools. Now start digging!

Just a comment to Rick in SF. My interpretation of 2 Thes. 3:10 is slightly different. In the early church, soon after Christ's resurrection, the saints had "all things in common, and there were no poor among them." But that system only worked if everyone pitched in. In Thessalonians the Apostle Paul wrote to the saints in that area, reminding them that the early Christian practice of holding all things in common and caring for the poor wasn't intended to feed that lazy. He was reminding him in his epistle (letter) that he had taught this doctrine when he was personally with them at an earlier time. Hence, if you don't work, don't expect a handout. If you're unable to work because of sickness, old age or similar circumstances, the Christian community will take care of you.

Sorry, make that Robert in SF!

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