1 Thessalonians 2:9 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.
Over the years American attitudes toward work and welfare have dramatically changed. One of my parishioners, who grew up during the Depression, lost her father at the age of ten. The original Aid to Families with Dependent Children (ADFC) was designed to help such people — widows and orphans –, but her mother, like Paul, was too Christian and too proud to be chargeable (literally, burdensome) to anyone so she refused the dole. Contrast that with current attitudes concerning welfare and disability payments and you see how far we have fallen from our Christian roots.
Some people really need assistance (they are “widows indeed”) and should receive it, whether it be from the Government, the Church, or both. But Paul was a bi-vocational minister, not living off the labor and toil of others, but working with his own hands night and day as a tentmaker to support himself and not be a burden to others. Our nation has long since rejected this Christian ethic, but believers, who are called to be different and separate from the world, should not.