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 writes in 1 Thessalonians 4:10-12:

  • 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, just as we commanded you, so that you will behave properly toward outsiders and not be in any need.”

God does not want us 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!

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.

Conversely, the master was displeased with those that took their talents and buried them in the sand – not trying to grow them further. 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 our talents to glorify Him and to serve one another. Our faith means nothing if it is not accompanied by works.

Jesus said in Mathew 25:29-30:

  • “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.”

EVERYTHING that we have been blessed with is a gift from God. As we have seen from Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians, and in the Parable of the Talents, we are to use what we have been given to labor for the Lord. God is not pleased with those that are lazy or content with what they have. Being a Christian is not about being comfortable.

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 the following scriptures:

  • “Let us not become discouraged in doing good, for in due time we will reap, if we do not become weary.” - Galatians 6:9.

  • “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, and let’s run with endurance the race that is set before us.” - Hebrews 12:1.

  • Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer person is decaying, yet our inner person is being renewed day by day.  For our momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” - 2 Corinthians 4:16-18.

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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