Working and Waiting

Scripture Reading — 1 Thessalonians 1

We … remember … your work produced by faith … and [how you] wait for his Son.
1 Thessalonians 1:3,10 — 

Paul commends the Thessalonians for many things. He celebrates the endurance their hope has inspired and its great value as the church faces persecution. Paul continues with thanks for fruitful work produced by faith in the Lord, and for faithfulness as the Thessalonian Christians await Jesus’ return. We would all like to have such things said about us.

Curiously, though, the Thessalonians later lost sight of the relationship between working and waiting. By the time Paul wrote to the Thessalonians again, Christ’s second coming loomed so large in the practice of their faith that they had developed tunnel vision. They weren’t doing the work for which they were called. So Paul felt the need to confront their laziness. (See 2 Thess. 3:11.)

We may also be tempted at times to think that waiting and working are unrelated. But Paul makes clear that working goes together with waiting, like a hand in a glove. “Now we ask you … to respect those who work hard among you … and we urge you … [to] warn those who are idle” (1 Thess. 5:12, 14). Idleness called for correction from Paul. Hard work called for approval.

The dynamic between waiting and working involves grace-filled anticipation in the Lord as well as confidence that “he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion” (Philippians 1:6).

Prayer

Lord, may our hearts and hands be busy waiting for you and doing our work for you. Give a boost to our waiting and purpose to our working. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.