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Subject: Christian Religious Studies
Topic: Dignity of Labour (2 Thessalonians 3:6 – 15)
Lesson Objectives: At the end of the lesson, learners should be able to:
i. Define dignity of labour,
ii. Explain Paul’s teaching on dignity of labour,
iii. Discuss the importance of dignity of labour,
iv. Explain how Paul addressed the issue of idleness among the Thessalonians Christians.
Dignity is the honour and respect attached to a particular thing. Dignity of labour is therefore, the respect and honour attached to all types of honest work people do for a living. In today’s society, a lot of emphasis is being laid on getting white-collar jobs because people believe these are jobs that attract respect in the society. For this reason, many people want to be bankers, accountants, doctors, engineers, etc. This orientation is wrong. All types of honest work is very important in the society. They all complement one another and the absence of any of them makes living difficult. For example, the mechanics, the carpenters, bricklayers all requires the services of doctors for their health and in turn, doctors require their services to be able to live comfortably. Doctors need carpenters to build furniture for their houses, mechanics to repair their motors, bricklayers to build houses for them etc. They cannot do without these services, likewise engineers, accountants, lecturers, etc.
It is important that we do not look down on any work. We must learn to give doctors, accountants, engineers, labourers mechanics, carpenters etc, equal respect because everyone is a professional in his own field and one cannot do without the other.
Dignity of labour had to do with one being proud of the work one is doing for a living and being prepared to work to the best of one’s ability and knowledge to ensure the progress of the society in which one lives. Christians must work harder in whatever they do for a living and they should avoid laziness, indolence and begging.
In St. Paul’s epistle to the Thessalonians, he warned them against laziness and indolence. He advised that Christians should work hard for their living and avoid begging. Paul called their attention to when he was with them. He did not depend on the church for his sustenance, he worked for his living. Though, it was his right to feed from the church as an evangelist, he chose to work so that they might emulate his good example.
Paul further reminded the Thessalonians of the command he gave them when he was with them: “if anyone will not work, let him not eat”. He condemned the idea of some of them living in idleness, parading themselves as a busy body. He advised such people to find something to do to earn their living. St. Paul said anyone who would not work should be avoided, so that he might be ashamed of himself, although such a fellow should not be treated as an enemy. The aim was to encourage the person as a Christian to be hard working.
Ways Christians should uphold the Ideals of Dignity of Labour
i. Christians should be proud of their jobs.
ii. Dignity of labour should be emphasized.
iii. Christians should not be beggar or extortionist.
iv. Christians should not be lazy, rather they should be gainfully employed.
v. Christians should be willing to take any legitimate job to earn their living.
Reasons Why Christians Should be Gainfully Employed
i. Employed Christians would not be burden to anyone, parties, relatives and friends.
ii. Such Christians become asset to themselves and others.
iii. They are happy serving God without murmuring or grudging.
iv. They can contribute meaningfully to the development and other project of the church.
v. Their life will be a source of motivation to other people around them.
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Take a quick test for this lesson
i. What is Paul’s teaching on dignity? Give two reasons why we should respect individual professions.
ii. What did Paul from his personal example teach the Thessalonians about dignity of labour? State two ways by which Christians should uphold this teaching.
iii. Discuss the importance of dignity of labour. Identify the role of different types of work in the society.
iv. How did Paul treat the problem of idleness among the Thessalonian Christian.
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