Dear San Lo Community, an update for the week of July 9, 2017…
Thank you Greg Ng, for the message from 2 Thessalonians 3:6-15, “Eat Your Own Bread.” We are continuing our summer series on Biblical Stewardship – how we are to use our Time, Talents and Treasures to honor and glorify God. The question I want to answer today is, “How as followers of Jesus Christ, are we to work with purpose?” What we will learn from this passage is that Gospel centered work is not just an individual endeavor, but Gospel centered work is designed to be in community – every person, every generation working together, serving together, and growing together.
Background. (v.6) Paul is specifically addressing a serious problem that was happening in the church – that there were believers in the church who were idle. However, the word “idle” in the Greek is Ataktos. Ataktos means disorderly, to be out of order or out of place. Ataktos is a word picture of a soldier marching out of order, out of place, breaking rank and file. Idleness is not the absence of work, rather it is going against the design and purpose of work.
We need to Strive to be Great at our work. (vv.7-9) Paul is saying to the Thessalonian church is that they should imitate him in the way that he worked. He and his companions worked as tentmakers to earn money as to not be a burden to others. Paul worked two jobs – as a tentmaker and as a missionary, but he was only paid for one of those jobs. Paul worked hard so that he could be an example for them to imitate. The purpose of Paul’s greatness here was not an individual thing. He didn’t strive to be great so that he could get his own personal awards or personal rewards. Paul strove for greatness so that he could be an example for others to follow.
We need to Work to Benefit and to Bless others. (vv.10-11) The problem of idleness is not about those who are unable to work because of retirement, or because of health reasons, or who are unable to work because they cannot find a job. In the church, there were believers who could work, who were earning a living, but they chose to stop working. Therefore, they had to rely on the charity and generosity of others. The mission of the church is to be God’s hands and heart to the poor, to the widows, to the orphans, to those who are marginalized by society. These idle believers ate the food that could have been given to the poor and needy. That is why Paul is so strict in commanding the church to stop allowing these idle believers to be freeloaders. The church is supposed to be a benefit and blessing to those who are unable to work and not to those who are unwilling to work.
We Need to Work to be Self Sufficient. (v.12) Paul is confronting those whom are guilty of being idle. He reminds them that they need to be earning their own living. Self-sufficiency is the minimum standard of living for a Christian. He commands these idle people in name of the Lord Jesus Christ. The context here is the church. The world is looking at the church and it sends the wrong message when it allows those who can be self-sufficient to willfully choose to be a burden on others. We are to hold ourselves to a higher standard so that the message of Jesus Christ can be spread. The more we can be self-sufficient as a church, the more we can reach others outside the church.
We are to Love our Work. (vv.13-15) The key here isn’t just loving the actual “work” aspect of work. Rather the key is loving the good that comes from it, loving the doing good part of work, loving the results that can come from it. Ultimately the Gospel purpose for work is always outwardly focused. God’s design for work is that work is not about me and what can I get out of it. This passage shows us a new perspective – I am to work to do good for others. I am to obey God’s command to work to demonstrate my love to others.
When we can realize all four of these areas, then we can understand and experience a sense of God’s purpose for work. When you have experienced this sense of purpose in your work and life, it is amazing. You feel that you are exactly in the center of God’s will for your life. You feel like there is no challenge that is too big, there is no step of faith that is too large. You feel like there is no sacrifice that is too great, there is no amount of giving that is too much.
We need to remember that your circumstances do not define your purpose. Rather God defines your purpose. It doesn’t matter if you have failed at school or have been fired from your job, you can still be great at school or at work because that failure does not define you. God defines you and He has given you a purpose that is not about you, but it is all about blessing others and it is all about glorifying God.
We also need to remember the context of this passage. The context is that Paul is speaking to the church. The church as a body is to work in unity in fulfilling His command to work with purpose. There is great wisdom in this design because we are not perfect. If one believer is not reaching one of these four areas, other believers can encourage that one. Even though there might be members of the body that are not completely aligned with God’s design for work, the church can still represent Jesus Christ to the community and to the world because we can make up for each other’s deficiencies. We can encourage, support and pray for one another as we go through different seasons of life. Paul instructs the older men and women in the church to teach and train the younger men and women. We are to seek out and connect with the generations behind us.
By working together with God’s purpose in mind, we can Grow SANLO. Specifically, we can grow in our service and our outreach, the S and the O of SANLO. We can Grow SANLO not because we are perfect in our work, but because we can work together.
NAOMI Mission Team Commissioning: Thank you to Pastor Brian and Pastor Eric for leading the congregation in prayer to encourage, support and send the 2017 NAOMI House Team.
7/13-15 General Assembly at WCCC
7/15 1:00pm OMF China Update by David Leung (Steve Weemes) all are welcome to attend
7/16 VBS Commissioning and Setup
7/17-21 Vacation Bible School – “Maker Fun Factory”
7/21-25 Brazilian Holy Art Youth Choir (hosted by LAHC HYC) home base for NorCal at SanLo
7/22-28 NAOMI House Mission
7/23 both services commissioning of Japan Mission Team to Sodegaura, Chiba for VBS & Jondy Natividad to Japan
7/24-8/2 Japan Mission – Chiba VBS
7/25 Jondy On A Mission to August 6
7/30 9am-10am Makoto and Amy – special sharing
Have a blessed week connecting in the Lord,
Stan, for SLZJCC