1 Thessalonians 2:9
For you remember, brothers, our labor and travail: for laboring night and day, because we would not be chargeable to any of you…
He next recalls the circumstances of his ardent and laborious ministry amongst them. "For ye remember, brethren, our labor and travail: working night and day, that we might not burden any of you, we preached unto you the gospel of God."
I. THE MINISTRY OF THE APOSTLE WAS ALWAYS LABORIOUS. He could say to the Corinthians that "he had approved himself as the minister of God in labors;" that "in labors he was more abundant" (2 Corinthians 6:4, 5; 2 Corinthians 11:23); exhausting his strength daily in his eager anxiety to reach the people with the gospel of God. If ever man went to the edge of his possibility, it was the Apostle Paul. The labor might be exhausting in itself, or on account of the obstacles thrown in his way, but it became the habit of his daily life.
II. IT WAS DOUBLY LABORIOUS AT THESSALONICA ON ACCOUNT OF THE NECESSITY HE IMPOSED UPON HIMSELF OF WORKING FOR HIS LIVING. Occupied in preaching or teaching through the day, he devoted his nights to his craft as a tent-maker.
1. The necessity in question was not imposed by either the Mosaic or the Christian Law. He showed to the Corinthians that alike natural justice, the Mosaic ordinance, and positive law, as announced by our Lord himself, required them to support the ministers of the gospel (1 Corinthians 9.). "They who preach the gospel shall also live of the gospel."
2. It was a necessity based upon a high Christian expediency. At Corinth he thought good "not to use his power in the gospel," and therefore preached the gospel there "without charge." The malignity of Jewish enemies led him to avoid even the appearance of covetous ness, or of attempting to "make a gain" of the Corinthians. We do not know under what circumstances he was led to pursue a similar course at Thessalonica. It may have been from similar accusations, or from a tendency he had observed among certain saints in the city to forswear work and go about as "busybodies." But his policy was exceptional, and affords no rule in modern times unless the circumstances should again become exceptional.
3. It was a necessity cheerfully accepted for the good of the Thessalonians. He had but two means of support in the city.
(1) He was not supported by super natural means, like Elijah in the desert.
(2) He was occasionally helped by the thoughtful kindness of the Philippians. "I robbed other Churches," he tells the Corinthians, "taking wages of them to do you service." He tells the Philippians, "For even in Thessalonica ye sent once and again to my necessities" (Philippians 4:15-17).
(3) He had to supplement these occasional-gifts by "working with his own hands." Every Jew had to learn a trade. The apostle thus dignifies common industry. - T.C.
Parallel VersesKJV: For ye remember, brethren, our labour and travail: for labouring night and day, because we would not be chargeable unto any of you, we preached unto you the gospel of God.