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2 Thessalonians 3:7-9 (JDV)
2 Thessalonians 3:7 because you yourselves know how you should imitate us: We were not undisciplined when with you;
2 Thessalonians 3:8 we did not eat anyone’s food free of charge; instead, we worked and toiled, working night and day, so that we would not be a burden to any of you.
2 Thessalonians 3:9 It is not that we don’t have the right to support, but we did it to make ourselves an example to you so that you would imitate us.
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Paul had been expressing confidence in the Thessalonians — assurance that they had been following the traditions he taught them. One of those traditions had something to do with working hard, so that the ministry would not be a burden to those being ministered to. Paul had exemplified that tradition. He worked and toiled night and day. He did this, even though he admitted that he had the right to be supported. He chose not to take advantage of that right, because he wanted the Thessalonians to live like that too. He wanted them to proclaim the gospel free of charge.
We are living in a generation which is skeptical of religious adherents. Many believe that we have ulterior motives for our ministry. Perhaps we need to revisit Paul’s tradition. We need to rethink normal. Maybe some could be reached by volunteers who would not give a listen to the paid professions.
Lord, raise an army of volunteers to reach the lost.