From a young age, I observed a strong work ethic in my parents. They showed up to work, day after day, to accomplish what was asked of them. They did the same around our house, working on projects to keep things repaired and fresh. I am thankful for their example and I have tried to follow in their footsteps by giving my best in anything I do.

As I think about my life in relation to the two verses above, I think, “I’ve done a great job with this.” But, honestly, if I’m doing such a great job with this, why does it feel so empty and meaningless? Sure I have a good reputation and my financial position is sufficient to provide for our needs, but is this what life is all about?

The truth is that I tend to live a life in which verse twelve reads like this, “…so that you will not be dependent on anybody — not even God.”

My good “work ethic” can emotionally distance me from God as well as from other people. My propensity is to live this verse out of context. Just one verse prior, we see Paul’s heart, “Yet we urge you, brothers and sisters, to love each other more and more” (I Thessalonians 4:10).

The goal here isn’t independence. The goal is interdependence saturated with the love of the risen Christ. As we show up to work day after day, let’s pray that it isn’t our work ethic that we’re known for as much as it is our love for God and others.

Heavenly Father, I am thankful to enjoy working to earn a living. I need your help to ensure that the end result of my work is to love you and those around me. Show me where love isn’t my motivation and change me as only you can. Through your Son I pray, amen.

Go Deeper — Is having a good work ethic enough? What is your motivation?

Tags: 1&2 Thessalonians 1 Thessalonians 4
Photo Credit: Andreas Klassen