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Dignity of labour: A key to success


Chidi Okoroafor

Text: 2 Thessalonians 3:6-10; 1 Thessalonians 4:11

Key Verse: 2 Thessalonians 3:10, “For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.” (NIV)

Success is not a product of luck but hard work. If you hate work, you will die poor. Work is the channel through which God blesses us. There is dignity in engaging yourself in any form of work. You lose your dignity, when you are idle and lazy.

Paul, writing to the Thessalonians, encouraged them to mind their own business and work with their hands, so that their daily life may win the respect of outsiders and that they would not be dependent on anybody (1 Thessalonians 4:11-12).


Work gives you a sense of worth, esteem and respect. Work is honourable and dignifying. You become a burden to others, when you are not engaged in any work. The rule is, ‘when you don’t work, you shall not eat’. Work existed before the fall of man. The Bible says God put man in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it (Genesis 2:15).

Paul wrote to the Thessalonians on the dignity of labour. He rebuked and disowned those brothers and sisters in the church who lived in idleness, for they were not living according to the laid down rules of the church. He encouraged them to imitate his exemplary life because he worked night and day. He did not in any way like idleness; neither did he depend on their material support for living. He worked for his earnings and paid for what he ate (2 Thessalonians 3:6-10).

To work is a command and not a suggestion (2Thessalonians 3:10). It is a command that if any should not work, he should not eat. Many people today want to make money without work. A slack hand causes poverty, but the hand of the diligent makes rich (Proverbs 10:4). Your destiny is at the mercy of your work.

Take pride in your work, as no particular job is indispensable and all jobs are complementary. You should not look at any job as menial, and you must work to earn a living for others to be encouraged by your example. Stop waiting for cheap success and go to work.

Abraham departed his father’s house to work and he was rich in livestock, silver and gold (Genesis 13:2). Abraham dug wells of water for his farming (Genesis 21:25). Isaac farmed/worked in the land, and received in the same year a hundredfold (Genesis 26:12). Isaac discovered and reopened the wells that his father, Abraham had dug (Genesis 26:18). When you die, will your children discover you were a hardworking or lazy person?


It takes a successful person to produce other successful people. Abraham was a diligent man, who trained his servants for success (Genesis 14:4). As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another (Proverbs 27:17).

Skilled workers are always in demand and admired. People that are good at their work never take back seat (Proverbs 22:29 MSG). Work produces wealth; Proverbs 28:19a, “Whoever works with his hand will have plenty of bread”. People who work rule the lazy people (Proverbs 12:24).

When you don’t work, you cannot have and when you don’t have, you cannot give to others in need (Ephesians 4:28). The Bible speaks the hard truth, when it says that if anyone does not provide for his family members and relatives, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever (1Timothy 5:8).

A folded hand is a folded destiny. Poverty is a process and it is brought about by slack hands. There is dignity in labour because in all labour, there is profit (Proverbs 14:23).

Today’s Nugget: Gathering by labour increaseth riches
Prayer: I receive Grace to work and profit.
Prayer lines:
Dr. Chidi Okoroafor, General Superintendent
Assemblies of God Nigeria

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