“…make it your ambition to live quietly and peacefully, and to mind your own affairs and work with your hands, just as we directed you, so that you will behave properly toward outsiders [exhibiting good character, personal integrity, and moral courage worthy of the respect of the outside world], and be dependent on no one and in need of nothing [be self-supporting].” 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12 ->me: At first blush this passage may seem to give permission to just focus on your work and allow yourself to be lost in it; permission to use this verse as an excuse for not having an appropriate work/life balance. I need to remember that the Thessalonians were super generous and loving and there were, no doubt, those living off the generosity of others in the church. Paul is saying that this looks deplorable to the watching world. Our actions and behavior in not supporting ourselves, if able, are a bad witness to the world around us. Additionally it can cause us to be an undue burden on those whose provisions could go to someone much more needy. He is saying to not be afraid to work with your hands (the Greeks deplored working with their hands, thinking it was the work of slaves); don’t be so prideful that a job working with your hands to provide and income is beneath you. I love my job and my job provides greatly (that is an awesome, blessed, and stewardship demanding thing), but it is just that, a job. The moment it becomes an idol, that is a whole different problem.