II Thess. 3:7. “For yourselves know how ye ought to follow us: for we behaved not ourselves disorderly among you.”
I hope you’ll forgive my paraphrase: ” You people KNOW how to behave by following our example! We were not lazy and entitled when we were with you!”
Okay, got that off my chest. Paul was pretty blunt, though, and I don’t think he would disapprove of my interpretation. I get the sense in this passage that he’s completely fed up with the attitude, ergo the behavior, of the people who are expecting to share in the rewards without doing the work.
If you know your early American history, you know that in the Jamestown Colony, John Smith, who was initially the governor, established a “no work, no food” policy. He did that because there were some, including a few noblemen, who didn’t believe they should have to work like the commoners. They felt they were still the ruling class, as they had been in England, and that the commoners should give them a portion of the fruits of their labors. It was an early, and unsuccessful, attempt at a sort of communal living. It wasn’t long before the “commoners” grew very angry and resentful that they were expected to support the noblemen in such a dangerous, difficult endeavor. The rest of that history is a fascinating read, if you can find a version that the revisionists haven’t doctored.
There really is nothing new under the sun. Today’s socialists and Marxists think they’ve come up with a novel idea: Share the wealth! Not new at all. This attitude was part of the spirit that existed in the Thessalonian church, and Paul wasted no words in his admonition against it.
We behaved not ourselves disorderly among you: We didn’t shirk. We worked to support ourselves while we were there with you, so that we wouldn’t be a burden to anyone. We set the example of diligence and responsibility. We didn’t expect to put our feet up at the end of a preaching service and read the newspaper while the rest of you provided for our physical needs.
In Phil. 4:9, Paul says that if the people will simply follow his example, God will bless them. He isn’t being arrogant. He just knows that he lived as God would have him to live.
Phil. 4:9. “The things which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.”