The Example of a Craftsman
Frank, my brother-in-law, has spent his life as a pastor. New churches, established churches, healthy churches, and churches on life support—Frank has done it all. In fact, after stepping down from the role of a lead pastor in 2009, he took on the harder task of providing wise leadership to churches in transition. He and his wife would hook up a small travel trailer, drive to the location, and set up housekeeping. He helped one congregation after another through the difficult process of calling and installing the right new pastor-teacher, providing wise biblical preaching in the interim. But through all these years of fulltime pastoral ministry, Frank always worked with his hands.
From the time he was a kid, he had the gift. Most of us look at an old, rotting barn, and we see the need for a bull dozer to level it. My brother sees priceless aged wood –wood he can turn into beautiful furniture. Frank’s now at a time in life when he’s earned the right to pull the lever on his lazy boy and tilt back but instead, he’s out in his shop working with his hands. The ironic thing is that this is probably the time in his life when he’s the most like the Apostle Paul.
Paul loved to work with his hands. When he arrived in a city like Thessalonica, he didn’t set up a pulpit and start preaching. He set up his shop and started making tents, and this hard work with his hands was an essential part of his ministry. It’s how he taught the new believers the importance of discipline, hard work, and not being dependent on others to put food in your stomach. Check out what he has to say to the congregation about some church members who were so “spiritual” they wouldn’t get their hands dirty in manual labor.
“In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, we continue to exhort you brothers and sisters to keep away from all irresponsible church family members who are not walking according to the authoritative teaching you received from us. For you, yourselves, know how you ought to follow our example, and you know what this example was. We didn’t act irresponsibly when we were with you. We didn’t even eat your bread without paying for it, and we worked night and day so that we would not be a burden to any of you. And we did this, in spite of the fact as apostles we had the right to be financially supported.
The reason we didn’t exercise this right is because we wanted to provide an example you could follow. When we were with you, we commanded you all that if someone doesn’t want to work, then let them not eat. For we hear that there are some who are living among you acting irresponsibly, not busy, but busybodies. Such people we command and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and earn the bread they eat. And the rest of you, my brothers and sisters, don’t get discouraged in doing what is right.” 2 Thessalonians 3:6-13
LORD, thanks for your wisdom that moved Paul to tell us to settle down and work hard at a productive job right after he told us that Jesus’s return was imminent.
Note: You can check out Frank’s handiwork on Facebook @ Dutchman’s Woodshop
For more from Dave Wyrtzen please visit TruthEncounter.com!