Workplace themes are woven into the fabric of the Thessalonian letters. They are most visible in several explicit passages, and especially in 2 Thessalonians. Underlying both letters is the principle that Christians are called to work to the degree they are able. Work is required to put food on the table, so eaters should be workers. Moreover work is honorable, reflecting God’s intent for humanity in creation. Not everyone has equal capacity to work, so the measure of work is not the quantity of achievement, but the attitude of service and commitment to excellence. Therefore, those who work as hard and as well as they are able have a full share in the community’s bounty. In contrast, those who shirk their duty to work should be confronted by the church. If they continue to be idle, they should not be supported by others’ means. As a last resort, they should even be removed from the community, for idleness leads to not only consuming the fruit of others’ labor, but also to active disruption of the community by meddling, gossip, and obstruction.
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