For you yourselves know how you ought to imitate us, because we were not idle when we were with you,
2 Thessalonians 3:7 ESV
We ought to be the kind of people that people ought to imitate. Paul & Co. were those kinds of people. No one could accuse them of being lazy.
When Paul first came to Thessalonica, he was so concerned to not burden the Thessalonians that he worked night and day so he could support himself, buy his daily bread, and preach the gospel. Nowadays, people tend to look down on “tent making” or “part time” ministry. But Paul was determined not to put a price on the gospel.
How would it have looked if Paul had preached God’s free grace, and then handed round the offering plate to charge people to hear him? It wouldn’t have seemed so free after all. How would it have looked if Paul had relied on the hospitality and generosity of the Thessalonians while he was trying to convert them? He was determined not to put the gospel in a bad light.
Of course, gospel workers have a right to earn a living from the gospel. But as Paul says elsewhere, he wasn’t going to insist on his rights and put a price on the gospel. The Thessalonians, tempted to idleness as they awaited the day of the Lord, did well to heed Paul’s conscientious, diligent example.
“Heavenly Father, thank You for the gospel which comes freely to us in Your Son. Don’t let us put a price on it, but may we work hard to imitate Him and to make Your good news of salvation known, for Your honour and praise, amen”