Monday, January 14, 2013

"Neither Should He Eat"

    "Grace and truth came by Jesus Christ" (John 1:17).
    "If any would not work, neither should he eat" (II Thessalonians 3:10).

    Had grace only come by the Lord Jesus Christ, the Apostle Paul would have commanded that everyone be fed, including the responsible and the irresponsible.  However, since our Savior's advent, death and resurrection bestowed both grace and truth, Paul mandated that irresponsibility should not be rewarded.  The Apostle rather advises that the church assembly in Thessalonica should not provide sustenance for those unwilling to work for it.

    God's grace in Christ, the freest gift ever given, does not promote irresponsibility when properly communicated and applied.  We do the heart no favors by feeding the belly if the hands are able but too lazy to labor.  Of course, we will happily and generously feed those who cannot help themselves, revealing the gracious love of Christ as we do.  We reveal such love no less vividly, however, when we choose not to help those who simply seek to take advantage of our largess.  "No" can be as loving and kind as "Yes" when we determine that our giving would merely promote further taking by those unwilling to accept the basic responsibilities of life.

    When we allow people to take advantage of us because we forget that truth is always the companion of grace, those who victimize us lose respect for us, and more importantly, for the Gospel.  Thereby we misrepresent our Lord and His purposes in human hearts.  The Christ who came to pardon guilty people came no less to transform irresponsible people into those who do not work for grace, but who certainly work from grace.  May our Heavenly Father grant to us much wisdom in communicating His free gift, the freest gift ever given, as the power of the Lord Jesus whereby hands, and feet are energized to perform the tasks of life with the zeal, determination and effort that reveal the presence of genuine grace in the heart.

"For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly."
(Philippians 3:18-19)

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