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November 17 – A life pleasing to God

“But we urge you, brothers, …to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you, so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one.” – 1 Thessalonians 4:10-12

Scripture reading: Colossians 3: 5-17

Having given instructions with regards to human sexuality, Paul now turns to the Christian’s obligation in society. In essence, Paul is saying to the Thessalonians, “You have come to know Christ, now evidence that also in your life in the world”. Paul has some valuable instruction for employers, employees and to all who are involved in business and commerce. He is even speaking to the ordinary “blue-collar” worker.

The desire to increase in possessions, lives in the heart of each of us and the sin of exploitation and cheating are an ever present danger. But we notice that Paul doesn’t present to the congregation a long list of rules for them to follow as they live and work in the community during the days of the week. He did not try to restrain dishonesty in business with a list of laws, rules or regulations. Paul didn’t rely on contracts and auditors to keep everyone accountable and honest. Those rules and regulations are important, but they are only important for the world!

Christians should be motivated by a different spirit. Christians should be honest in business because it is God’s will for them that they lead sanctified lives, in all areas, even in business. When Christians are more concerned about honouring God in the workplace than about increasing riches, they will experience God’s blessing. Christians need to remember that, “This is the will of God, your sanctification …. That no man transgress or wrong his brother” (1 Thessalonians 4:6).

Suggestions for prayer

Ask God to help you live a life that is pleasing to him in all areas. Ask him to conduct your activity in the workplace in such a way that God is glorified first of all.

Rev. Mark Zylstra is an emeritus minister of the United Reformed Churches in North America. He and his wife Corrie, live in Smithville ON and their home church is Wellandport, ON URC. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at

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