A note from our pastor:
“Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.”Ephesians 4:28
Good Morning Dearly Beloved,
As the Apostle Paul wrote to those believers at Ephesus, he addressed what must have been patterns of behavior in their past. In this verse, he admonishes those in the church if they previously engaged in theft to cease that behavior. He reminds them of the need to have gainful employment by which they might support themselves.
This instruction is quite comfortable for a disciple in the western world. In truth, Americans are prone to judge the worth of an individual by our perceptions of their industriousness. Hard work and earning your own way are prized traits and taught from a young age. To teach someone not to steal is second nature.
However, while the first instruction from the Apostle in this verse is important it is not the main idea he is teaching. The main focus of the verse is not on hard work and earning a living, but rather on positioning oneself to be charitable. The entire purpose for earning a wage is that you might be in a position to take care of one less fortunate.
Furthermore, the Apostle does not propose one acceptable way for giving to take place. He rather implies in a very discernable way that the wages you earn should be intended to be given away. This is not to say one should not take care of himself or his family, but it does teach that to hold onto your money as your hard earned reward is against the teachings of scripture.
Ultimately, this lesson comes back to a key point — scripture does not teach individualism. Despite the teachings of modern culture, Jesus and his Aposltes taught community over self. They emphasized the need for the disciple to give of himself as one way to love to his neighbor. That is the main lesson the Apostle is teaching in this verse — earn a wage that you might give it to others.
And as we put all the pieces together, the Apostle is ultimately providing practical advice for living the great commandment.
Our Prayers are with you daily,