St. Paul had made three journeys through the land that is now the peninsula of Turkey. In today’s reading he was saying his last goodbye, and feeling deeply about it.
He was able to boast, “I never wanted anyone’s silver or gold or clothing. You know that these very hands have served my needs and my companions.”
The Gospels didn’t have much good to say about the Pharisees, but Paul’s training as a Pharisee made him quite honorable in one way: as a Pharisee he paid his own way by working at tent making. The Pharisees all had their own trades where they earned their keep, demanding no pay for being Pharisees.
His own example equipped Paul to make others see the value of good hard work. In today’s reading he recommended hard work as our way of having the wherewithal to help the poor. In his Letter to the Philippians he recommended that they live by the motto, “Those who did not work should not be allowed to eat.”