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November 20 – Our daily labour

“1 Aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you.” – 1 Thessalonians 4:1

Scripture reading: 1 Thessalonians 4:6-16

Fanatics, busybodies and loafers can be found in every congregation. Apparently, such people were among the Thessalonian congregation as well and Paul addresses them. He tells them to quietly mind their own business and to get a job.

The gospel had been proclaimed to the Thessalonians by Paul. They had been told of the birth, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus and they were told He was coming again. They had eagerly embraced the gospel message, however, many of them were under the false delusion that Christ’s return was at hand. Not only was there excitement among the members about the second coming of their Lord, but numbers of people had become fanatical about it. They had become restless in anticipation. It seems that a significant number of people were so eager for the second coming that they literally quit their jobs and did nothing but talk about and speculate about how that would all be. They even convinced others to also stop working and wait for the Lord’s coming. With his admirable ability to speak paradoxically, Paul urges them to become all stirred up, not by agitating other members, but by living quietly and working diligently at their daily vocation.

Scripture speaks even to us today, telling us to live all of our lives to God’s glory, also in our daily work. Christians ought to be industrious. A lazy Christian is an offence to God and a poor example towards those who do not know Christ and now Paul instructs them to properly direct that restlessness.

Suggestions for prayer

Ask the Lord to fill you with eager anticipation of His coming again, but ask Him to teach you also how you are to work diligently at your daily work while waiting upon that last great Day of the Lord.

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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