2 Thessalonians 3:8

Neither did we eat any man's bread for nothing; but worked with labor and travail night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you:
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AD 400
There would have been nothing wrong if he had accepted food from them for his health, because he gave them spiritual food for their souls, which also obtained for them an immortal body with glory. But there is complete freedom when someone is content with his own food and does not depend on anyone else for nourishment or money.

Augustine of Hippo

AD 430
Of course, there are those who misunderstand the same apostle when he writes, “He who was apt to steal, let him steal no longer; but let him labor, doing good with his hands, that he may have something to give to one who has need.” For, when he is ordering such persons to work so efficiently with their hands that they will also have something to bestow on others, his misinterpreters believe that he is going counter to the instruction which the Lord gives when he says, “Look at the birds of the air: they do not sow, or reap, or gather into barns…. Consider the lilies of the field: They neither toil nor spin.” Paul does not seem to have imitated the birds of the air and lilies of the field. He has repeatedly said of himself that he was working with his own hands so as not to burden anyone, and it is written of him that he joined with Aquila because of the similarity of their handicraft, so that they might work together to maintain a livelihood. From these and other such passages of the S...

Augustine of Hippo

AD 430
Perhaps someone will dare to think or say that the apostle Paul did not attain the perfection of those who, leaving all behind, followed Christ. The reason for entertaining such a thought would be because Paul procured his own substance by his own hands in order that he might not burden anyone of those to whom he was preaching the gospel. Thus the words he says, “I have labored more than all of them,” have all been fulfilled, and he added, “Yet not I, but the grace of God with me.” We can only ascribe Paul’s ability both to preach and support himself financially to the grace of God at work in his mind and body. He neither ceased from preaching the gospel nor did he, as his detractors, support himself financially from the gospel.

Basil the Great

AD 379
In this way we acquie a ecollected spiit—when in evey action we beg fom God the success of ou labos and satisfy ou debt of gatitude to him who gave us the powe to do the wok, and when, as has been said, we keep befoe ou minds the aim of pleasing him. If this is not the case, how can thee be consistency in the wods of the apostle bidding us to “pay without ceasing,” with those othe wods: “we woked night and day”? Thanksgiving at all times has been commanded even fom law and has been poved necessay to ou life fom both eason and natue. So we should not theefoe be negligent in obseving those times fo paye customaily established in communities—times which have inevitably been selected because each peiod contains a eminde peculia to itself of blessings eceived fom God. The Long Rules, q...

Basil the Great

AD 379
But why should we dwell upon the amount of evil thee is in idleness, when the apostle clealy specifies that he who does not wok should not eat. As daily sustenance is necessay fo eveyone, so labo in popotion to one’s stength is also essential. Solomon has witten effectively in paise of had wok: “And she has not eaten he bead in idleness.” And again, the apostle says of himself, “neithe did we eat any man’s bead fo nothing, but in labo and in toil we woked night and day.” Yet, since he was peaching the gospel, he was entitled to eceive his livelihood fom the gospel. … We have eason to fea, theefoe, lest, pechance, on the day of judgment this fault also may be alleged against us, since he who has endowed us with the ability to wok demands that ou labo be popotioned to ou capacity. Fo the Lod says, “To whom they have committed much, of him they will demand much.” The Long Rules, q...

Cyprian of Carthage

AD 258
Let them also follow the example of the Apostle Paul, who, after often-repeated imprisonment, after scourging, after exposures to wild beasts, in everything continued meek and humble; and even after his rapture to the third heaven and paradise, he did not proudly arrogate anything to himself when he said, "Neither did we eat any man's bread for nought, but wrought with labour and travail night and day, that we might not be chargeable to any of you."

George Leo Haydock

AD 1849
Burthensome. By the Greek, he understands those who being idle, and not keeping themselves employed, lead a disorderly life. (Witham)

John Cassian

AD 435
Once Abba Serapion finely mocked this sham humility. A man arrived at his cell, making a great show of lowliness in his dress and speech. Serapion, as is usual, asked him to offer a prayer. The visitor refused and said that he was guilty of such crimes that he did not deserve even to breathe the same air. Refusing the mat, he sat on the ground. Still less would he allow Serapion to wash his feet. After supper it is usual to have a religious conference. So Serapion began, with kindness and gentleness, to warn him against being an idle and haphazard wanderer, especially as he was young and strong. He told him that he ought to settle in a cell, subject himself to the rules of the elders and maintain himself by his own work instead of living on the hospitality of others. Since St. Paul was working for the spread of the gospel, he might reasonably have lived on others. Yet he preferred to work day and night to get daily bread for himself and those who were ministering to him and could not w...

John Chrysostom

AD 407
See how in the former Epistle indeed he discourses somewhat more mildly concerning these things; as when he says, We beseech you, brethren,— that you would abound more and more— and that you study 1 Thessalonians 4:1-11— and nowhere does he say, we command, nor in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ, which was fearful and implied danger, but that ye abound, he says, and study, which are the words of one exhorting to virtue; that you may walk honestly (becomingly), he says. 1 Thessalonians 4:12 But here is nothing of this kind, but if any one will not work, says he, neither let him eat. For if Paul, not being under a necessity, and having a right to be idle, and having undertaken so great a work, did nevertheless work, and not merely work, but night and day, so that he was able even to assist others—much more ought others to do this.

Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation - 2 Peter 1:20

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