Inspiration by Perspiration

by Kyle Lum on May 14, 2024


“Make it your goal to live a quiet life, minding your own business and working with your hands, just as we instructed you before. 
Then people who are not believers will respect the way you live, and you will not need to depend on others.”
‭1 Thessalonians‬ ‭4‬:‭11‬-‭12‬‬


Paul is exhorting the people in Thessalonica on living pure and holy lives, pleasing to God. He covered the most blatant one, sexual sin and all of its downfalls, to those who refuse to heed correction and reproof. 
Then he brings this up almost as though from left field; Christians, especially those on fire for Jesus....get to work and mind your business!
Why? He says "then people who are not Christians will respect the way you live and you will not need to depend on others.". 
It might have been that back in those days, people who came to faith; the downtrodden, the rejected, the afflicted, were the ones who came from situations where they were the kinds of people who begged on street corners, hustled and panhandled, and who resorted to smooth talk and guilt trips, rather than rolling up their sleeves and getting some work done.
Now as children of faith, they might have taken passages of Scripture out of context; stuff like waiting on the LORD, being still and knowing He is God, stuff like that. 
Paul wanted to make sure that those who are in the faith will earn and gain the respect of the unbelieving community by being industrious and not by begging or swindling. 
Instead, inspiration by perspiration.


It's ironic that even in today's society, Christians are often channeled in to the same classes as beggars and swindlers; now with more tools under their belts (that is, television and the Internet), to smooth talk or guilt trip their way into people's wallets. 
Televangelists all over the world are mocked and jested as "high class beggars". 
In a smaller context, young and impressionable ministry trainees write letter after letter for financial support, all the while just sitting and "waiting on the LORD." 
I don’t want to invalidate by any means, the true calling of the LORD on someones life to sit and truly wait on Him, but so often this kind of idleness without the LORD is the kind that leads to boredom, 
which leads to mischief, 
which leads to temptation, 
which leads to sin and misery. 
The very kinds of things Paul warns the Thessalonians to avoid. 
I often wonder if we would win over more of the unbelieving community in our own influence if we spent less time sitting and waiting, and more time getting to work in wherever we are called or needed. Putting some skin in the game. 
There's nothing disrespectful or undignifying about working with ones’ fact, sometimes it is through working and co-laboring with the non Christians in our influence that we may gain their respect, their audience, and maybe just maybe, their heart to listen to the gospel of Christ. 
Inspiration by perspiration.


Lord Jesus, may I not be too obsessed with works...for I do know that it is by grace we are saved. 
But indeed if we are to be effective in spreading the gospel to the unbelieving world, we ought to get to work, and in more ways than just having meetings. 
May my labors of many types honor You, and make You famous among those who have yet to know You. IJN, amen!


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