You must give yourselves to work of some kind, so that the devil may always find you busy; no idleness on your part must give him a chance to pierce the defences of your souls. In this respect you have both the teaching and the example of Saint Paul the Apostle, into whose mouth Christ put his own words. God made him preacher and teacher of faith and truth to the nations: with him as your teacher you cannot go astray. We lived among you, he said, labouring and weary, toiling night and day so as not to be a burden to any of you; not because we had no power to do otherwise but so as to give you, in your own selves, as an example you might imitate. For the charge we gave you when we were with you was this: that whoever is not willing to work should not be allowed to eat either. For we have heard that there are certain restless idlers among you. We charge people of this kind, and implore them in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, that they earn their own bread by silent toil. This is the way of holiness and goodness: see that you follow it.
– Rule of St. Albert, No. 20
In Paul’s second letter to the Thessalonians, he warned the faithful against idleness emphasizing the rule which they gave to them, “If any one will not work, let him not eat,” (2 Thessalonians 3:10) while citing themselves as examples that the Thessalonians should follow.
“We were not idle when we were with you, we did not eat any one’s bread without paying, but with toil and labor we worked night and day, that we might not burden any of you,” said Paul. (2 Thessalonians 3:7-8).
As much as we want to dedicate our lives to God, we must also take care of our body and we do this by working, so that we would be able to provide for what we eat and for our other needs, without becoming a burden to others.
Working is also a way of showing how much we care for our community and our being part of a family. By the fruits of our labor we are able to help meet the needs of our community.
Working is also a celebration of God’s greatness, through his most precious creation – man.
In the words of Pope St. John Paul II, “Through work man not only transforms nature, adapting it to his own needs, but he also achieves fulfillment as a human being and indeed in a sense, becomes ‘more a human being.'” (Laborem Exercens, Ch. II, 9).
How much value have I been putting on work?
2 Thessalonians 3:-13
Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from any brother who is living in idleness and not in accord with the tradition that you received from us. For you yourselves know how you ought to imitate us; we were not idle when we were with you, we did not eat any one’s bread without paying, but with toil and labor we worked night and day, that we might not burden any of you. It was not because we have not that right, but to give you in our conduct an example to imitate. For even when we were with you, we gave you this command: If any one will not work, let him not eat. For we hear that some of you are living in idleness, mere busybodies, not doing any work. Now such persons we command and exhort in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work in quietness and to earn their own living. Brethren, do not be weary in well-doing.
Lord, create in me a heart that appreciates and respects the beauty of labor. Allow me to appreciate the royalty of humility through work, recognize the beauty of serving others, and celebrate the dignity of your creation. Amen.