Archive for August, 2010

Are You Paying Your Own Way?

August 7, 2010

1 Thessalonians 4:9-12

9 But regarding brotherly love, you do not need that I write to you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another.
10 And indeed you do it toward all the brothers who are in all Macedonia. But we beseech you, brothers, that you abound more and more,
11 and that you try earnestly to be quiet and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you,
12 so that you may walk becomingly toward those outside, and that you may lack nothing.

I was reading along, and this passage just struck me. In particular, verses 11 and 12 speak to me about the importance of Christians working, so that we will not be a burden to those around us.  The reason this struck me is two-fold.  First, with the economy in the US being what it is, there are a lot of people who are out of work.  It is very easy to get discouraged, and simply accept living on unemployment or the generosity of your local church.  The other is that I have seen people in churches I’ve attended who never seem to be able to find a job, and do become a burden.  It becomes very easy to resent someone who is doing that.

The result is that not working can create financial hardships in the body of Christ, and can also sow discord between members.  This is a terrible thing to risk.  So, given that, a valid concern becomes, how do you deal with losing your job?  It’s hard.  I’ve been job hunting when things weren’t too bad, and it takes a while.  With that said, I have a friend who decided to do the most reasonable thing possible when he didn’t find a job.  He started his own business.  It’s a scary thing to do, with no certainty, but if you are unemployed you are likely to have skills.

There comes a point where you need to start thinking about what you can do to get money coming in while you look for a job.  If you’ve ever swung a hammer, you can start looking at putting up fences, drywall, cabinets, SOMETHING.  If you’re good with computers, you can help people fix up their computers.  If you know how to program, you can create websites, applications, or other tools for people.

The key, in all cases, is to think about what you know how to do, and how you can monetize it.  If you’re anything like me, you don’t like the idea of starting your own business.  I hate dealing with money.  I really hate the idea of dealing with a company’s bills, the sales process, etc.  With that said, is that worse than being a drain on your church, or perhaps a source of discord?

When Paul was working as a tent maker, he was doing manual labor.  While being a tent maker was a respected position, manual labor was generally considered fit only for slaves, and certainly not a citizen of Rome.  Think of it as being the equivalent of being a trash collector, or flipping burgers.  This is what Paul did, and encouraged everyone to do, if necessary.  Are we any better?