1 Thessalonians 4 Lesson

Hard Work Pleases God!

After receiving a good report on the brethren in Thessalonica, Paul does not allow them to become content.  Instead, he encourages them to grow even stronger in their faith and to work even harder for the Lord. 

Paul makes this point twice as a matter of emphasis:

  1. “Finally then, brethren, we request and exhort you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us instruction as to how you ought to walk and please God (just as you actually do walk), that you excel still more.” -1 Thessalonians 4:1,
  2. But we urge you, brethren, to excel still more,and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life and attend to your own business and work with your hands.” – 1 Thessalonians 4:10-11.

GOD DOES NOT WANT US TO REST ON OUR LAURELS

We see from these two scriptures that God does not want us to become content with what we have done in the past and to rest on our laurels.   That does not bring Him glory.  Rather, whatever talents we have been blessed with, He wants us to put them to work to glorify God and serve others

THE PARABLE OF THE TALENTS

In the Parable of the Talents (Mathew 25:14-30), the master was pleased when his servants took what they were given and turned it into even more The master said:

  • “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!” – Mathew 25:21.

This parable points out that God is pleased with those that put their spiritual gifts to work to glorify Him and serve others. 

Conversely, the master was displeased with those that took their talents and buried them in the sand – not trying to grow them any further.  To one such person, the master said:

  • “You wicked, lazy slave, you knew that I reap where I did not sow and gather where I scattered no seed.  Then you ought to have put my money in the bank, and on my arrival I would have received my money back with interest.Therefore take away the talent from him and give it to the one who has the ten talents.” – Mathew 25:26-28

This part of the parable reveals how God is displeased with those that rest on their laurels.  If God has blessed us with certain abilities, He wants us to seek out opportunities to use them to glorify Him and to serve one another.  Our faith means nothing if it is not accompanied by works.

At the end of this parable, Jesus says:

  • “For to everyone who has, more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but from the one who does not have, even what he does have shall be taken away.  Throw out the worthless slave into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” - Mathew 25:29-30.

So what is the point of this parable?

The parable teaches us that everything we have is a gift from God.  Whatever we have been blessed with, we are to use to glorify God and serve others.

In the Parable of the Talents, God was not pleased with those that rested on their laurels and did nothing with the talents they were given. 

BIBLE VERSES ABOUT HARD WORK

  1. “Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men.” -Colossians 3:23 ,
  2. “The soul of the lazy one craves and gets nothing, but the soul of the diligent is made prosperous.” - Proverbs 13:4,
  3. “In all labor there is profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty.” - Proverbs 14:23,
  4. “For even when we were with you, we used to give you this order: if anyone is not willing to work, then he is not to eat, either.  For we hear that some among you are leading an undisciplined life, doing no work at all, but acting like busybodies.” -2 Thessalonians 3:10-11,
  5. “Commit your works to the Lord, and your plans will be established.” - Proverbs 16:3.

CONCLUSION

Our Heavenly Father wants us to remain hungry and productive throughout every phase of our lives.  And if we run with endurance and finish the race, we can look forward to someday hearing the words, “Well done, My good and faithful servant!” 

We will conclude today’s lesson with three scriptures that encourage us to “excel still more” in our service to the Lord:

  1. “Let us not become discouraged in doing good, for in due time we will reap, if we do not become weary.” - Galatians 6:9,
  2. “Therefore, since we also have such a great cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us rid ourselves of every obstacle and the sin which so easily entangles us, andlet’s run with endurance the race that is set before us.” - Hebrews 12:1.

Comments

Mark W.

The picture at the bottom of today’s lesson is a visual that fits the passage so well. God could have done the bare minimum with creation: shorter mountains, no hot or cold but only lukewarm, shades of gray, etc. Instead, he gave it all he had (or at least as much as we can comprehend!), and it has produced blessing after blessing. Only then did he rest. His call, through Paul and others, is to work hard in what we are doing. That theme runs from Genesis to today’s text and through the Revelation. The picture of the waves, the mist, and the mountains proclaim a God who is still working in our world and working through us. May our own work point right back to him.

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Tom
Mark W.

Amen!

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