“For you remember, brothers, our labour and toil: we worked night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, while we proclaimed to you the gospel of God.” – 1 Thessalonians 2:9
Scripture reading: 1 Thessalonians 2:7-12
In addition to preaching the gospel among the Thessalonians, Paul also worked to provide for himself financially. We know his trade was “tent-making” and it would seem that in addition to being a full-time preacher and missionary, he also did manual labour. Ordinarily he would have relied on the church to meet his needs, but not in Thessalonica. We do not know why he took that approach in this congregation. To rely on the church to provide for him would have been legitimate. In fact, in 1 Corinthians 9:14, Paul himself teaches that the Lord commands that “those who proclaim the gospel should get their living by the gospel”.
Why he expected that from other churches but not in Thessalonica is not revealed to us, but in this case, it may well have been that the Macedonian churches were poor, so he did not want to burden them. If the church was struggling, having to finance the mission work would have been an added burden for them.
The apostles loved the flock and wanted to avoid any possible obstacle which might hinder the advance of the gospel among them, so they did manual labour to provide for themselves. John Calvin observes, “All good shepherds must take care that they be not only diligent in their ministry but they must also, as much as it lies with them, remove all obstacles to their service”.
Suggestions for prayer
Ask God to make you a cheerful giver. Ask Him to show you how you need to use your gifts, talents and treasure to finance the advance of the kingdom.
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 NTGDevotional.com.