We were not idle when we were with you, nor did we eat anyone’s food without paying for it. On the contrary, we worked night and day, laboring and toiling so that we would not be a burden to any of you. We did this, not because we do not have the right to such help, but in order to offer ourselves as a model for you to imitate. For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.”
Take special note of anyone who does not obey our instruction in this letter. Do not associate with them, in order that they may feel ashamed. Yet do not regard them as an enemy, but warn them as you would a fellow believer. 2 Thessalonians 3:7-10;14-15.
Relationships deteriorate when they lack mutuality. In a postscript to his letter to the believers in Thessaloniki, the apostle Paul gets something off his chest. He wasn’t pleased with idle Christians who were ‘leeching’ off their friends and taking advantage of the compassion of others. He reminded them of his own example of working day and night, so as not to be a burden to them. Paul wanted an equal exchange of giving and receiving love. And he felt it was ok, to let those unwilling to be ashamed. Sometimes I think our welfare approaches should include a bit of shame. Maybe I am a bit harsh. Of course, I never want to see people as the enemy, but rather as the prize for whom Christ died.
Is my heart right toward those in need? Are my approaches to helping effective and transforming?
God, as this day begins… there are two people in need of whom I am aware. Help me reach out in wisdom, encourage where necessary, challenge as needed and always with kindness lead people forward in their relationship with You.