We live in a world today where increasing numbers of people don't want to work hard and make their way in the world. I'm not writing about those who have lost jobs in recent months due to our current recession, but rather those that have become codependent. They're immature. They haven't grown up. These people are physically capable of working, but they choose rather to have others take care of them, whether it be the federal government, family members, the church, or other charitable organizations. Even Christians can get into a mindset that they are owed something in life, and they will take advantage of the government, other people, resources, and organizations in order to get what they think that they deserve.
In the verses above, the Apostle Paul encourages the believers at the church in Thessalonica to work hard and not be dependent on others. The purpose behind this way of living is to earn the respect of unbelievers. Every day, unbelievers are watching all of us who claim the name of Christ. They are looking to see if we have personal integrity in our everyday lives. Work is such a large part of our life where we can model a strong work ethic to those who don't know the Lord.
As you engage in work today, let me encourage you to work hard as if you were working just for the Lord and not for men (Colossians 3:23). Be a shining example of what a strong Christian work ethic looks like in the life of a believer. Go out and earn the respect of your unbelieving boss and coworkers. Be a living testimony of what Christ is doing in your life. Perhaps the Lord will use your hard work as an open door to share Christ with others.