1 Thessalonians 4:9-12

Now about your love for one another we do not need to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love each other. 10 And in fact, you do love all of God’s family throughout Macedonia. Yet we urge you, brothers and sisters, to do so more and more, 11 and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you, 12 so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.

Listening guide

When is the last time you took a whole day off? Here is how I’m defining a day off:  

  1. Stop all paid and unpaid work  

  1. Rest by engaging in activities that restore and replenish us.   

  1. Delight in God’s creation and all the gifts he offers us in it.   

  1. Contemplate and ponder the love of God  (Peter Scazzero, Emotionally Healthy Spirituality)  


Dorothy Sayers “Why Work”  


If we want rest, we need to work well 


Work is an expression of __________. 


Good work comes from _______ ________. 


God has ____________ so _________ for you in Jesus Christ   


God has worked so hard for you in Jesus Christ, so get some rest.   


Discussion questions

  1. Everyone has certain events and stories that reflect their perspective on work. Share some of the events of your life that describe your perspective on work.  

  2. In Genes 1:26 and following, God’s creation account shifts into the majestic first-person plural, “Let us make...”. Adam and Eve are immediately put to work. List the jobs that God mentions.  

  3. According to the following passages, what are some descriptions God uses for our activity in eternity:  

    1. Isaiah 60:4-10 

    2. Matthew 25:23 

    3. John 5:17 

    4. 2 Timothy 2:12 

    5. Revelation 2:26-27 

    6. Revelation 21:24-25  

    7. Revelation 22:3  

  4. In 1 Thessalonians 4:9, Paul says, “about your love for one another” and then goes on to talk about our daily lives. One commentator describes the concern in this way, “It was rather common for Greek men to leave the manual labor to their wives and slaves. This left the men to spend their days in the marketplace. There they would gather to discuss political and economic issues, and (all too often) to indulge in idle gossip. Thus they often became busybodies in other people’s affairs.” What is Paul teaching us by connecting our love to our daily lives and work?  

  5. 1 Thessalonians 4:9 Agree/Disagree Love for one another is the most important fruit of our faith.  

  6. In Matthew 6:19-21, Jesus famously tells us not to store up treasures on earth, but to work for and store up treasures in heaven. What are some good ways you have seen people work to store up treasures in heaven?  

  7. The most important phrase in that section is Matthew 6:21, “for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also”. We might expect it to say, where our heart is, that is our treasure. But Jesus teaches us that our hearts follow what we treasure. How does Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection change what you treasure?  

  8. A little cliché has become popular: “Don’t “rest from work”, “work from rest”.” What might people who say this be trying to communicate?  

  9. One way to ensure that we work well is to celebrate, reflect on, and give thanks for all the good things God has given us through our work and the work of others. This is part of what we don on the Sabbath. In an article called “Bring Back the Sabbath” in the New York Times Magazine we read,  

“There is ample evidence that our relationship to work is out of whack. Let me argue on behalf of an institution that has kept workaholism in reasonable check for thousands of years. Most people believe that all you have to do to stop working is not work. The inventors of the Sabbath understood that it was a much more complicated undertaking. You cannot downshift casually and easily. This is why the Puritan and Jewish Sabbaths were so exactingly intentional. The rules did not exist to torture the faithful. Interrupting the ceaseless round of striving requires a surprisingly strenuous act of the will, one that has to be bolstered by habit as well as by social sanction.”  

This quote explains that scheduled rest will not work without a great deal of intentionality and discipline. Brainstorm the kind of practical habits and useful practices that can help us observe Sabbath.