Motives to Industry
1 Thessalonians 4:12
That you may walk honestly toward them that are without, and that you may have lack of nothing.

I. IT IS RIGHT. "That ye may walk honestly."

1. Idleness exposes men to three forms of dishonesty —

(1) Unlawful dependence on others. We have no right to ask or receive the produce of another's labour when we are perfectly able to have produce of our own. This belongs to him and we filch it when we take it without value returned. It is taking the bread out of his mouth. All beggars, loungers, and loafers of all classes come under this category — labourers, genteel placemen, ministerial sinecurists.

(2) Thievery. The thief is not usually one who can't, but one who won't work. To rob requires abilities which if honestly employed would secure adequate remuneration. But the thief likes his calling because of the idle leisure it promises, and the love of display which its wicked gains may gratify.

(3) Gambling — the vice of which consists in getting that for which nothing, is given, involving the rightful owner in loss. That he might have been the garner is no justification, but a condemnation of both parties. This, too, springs from love of ease, from love of excitement, and from the feverish desire to be rich without the legitimate pains.

2. Honest industry avoids these temptations and secures —

(1) Independence, which is worth all that is requisite to secure it. The worker could not stoop to the base cringing necessary to reap the paltry gains of the parasite, and mercifully escapes the contempt to which the idle dependent is exposed.

(2) Nobility of soul which would scorn to take an undue advantage of another.

II. IT IS PROFITABLE. "That ye may have lack of nothing." This is perfectly legitimate as a subordinate motive, and is one of the mainstays of civilization and philanthropy. The idea involves —

1. The economy of the results of labour. To gain a competence thrift, temperance, and forethought are necessary. How many men honest and industrious enough, and with every means of acquiring a competency from time to time "lack" everything from their thriftless ways. But while honest to others they are dishonest to themselves. Frugality must enter into any large meaning of honesty.

2. The use of the results of labour —

(1)  In domestic requirements.

(2)  For charitable purposes.

(3)  For the promotion of religion.

(J. W. Burn.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: That ye may walk honestly toward them that are without, and that ye may have lack of nothing.

WEB: that you may walk properly toward those who are outside, and may have need of nothing.

Honesty Towards Those Without
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