The Work of our Hands

Katie Franzen | May 11, 2022

For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example. We were not idle when we were with you, nor did we eat anyone’s food without paying for it. On the contrary, we worked night and day, laboring and toiling so that we would not be a burden to any of you. We did this, not because we do not have the right to such help, but in order to offer ourselves as a model for you to imitate. 

2 Thessalonians 3:7-9

(Today’s reflection uses the idea of “the work of our hands” as a metaphor—a technique often found in Scripture—for anything we accomplish. We acknowledge that God’s people embody many abilities and accomplish work in unique ways.)

Reading today’s verses makes me wonder: What were Paul and his companions doing with their hands? What kind of laboring and toiling were they participating in?

This passage offers an example for us to follow. What do you think it is? 

I feel like it’s an invitation to get my hands involved in a significant activity. People throughout the world accomplish incredible things every day, from the time they get up in the morning until they go to bed at night. Take a moment to think about some of the ways you use your hands each day: preparing food, feeding people, bathing, getting dressed, performing chores around the house, fulfilling work responsibilities, caring for family members or friends, engaging in fun activities, or helping out at church. It seems to me that hands—whether physical or metaphorical— are essential to just about everything we do in life. In this passage, Paul and his companions were able to provide for themselves by the work of their hands.

Read the passage again and imagine you are there. What’s happening? How might you participate, joining in the work of their hands? What type of labor or task would you choose to help sustain you and the others in your group?  

Now, take a look at your hands. How might your hands make a difference in someone else’s life?

Next Steps

  • Set aside some time to think through how you are using your hands each day. Is there anything you would like to do differently?
  • Choose to get involved in an activity that will make a difference in someone else’s life. Consider serving in a ministry at church, volunteering with an organization in your community that serves people in need, or helping a family member, friend, or neighbor in need.
  • Maybe you need to ask for someone else’s hands to help you. Please consider reaching out to a trusted friend, church, or community organization.