March 30 - 2 Thessalonians 3:6-15

Saturday, March 30, 2013

March 30 - 2 Thessalonians 3:6-15

Now we command you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from any brother who is walking in idleness and not in accord with the tradition that you received from us. For you yourselves know how you ought to imitate us, because we were not idle when we were with you, nor did we eat anyone’s bread without paying for it, but with toil and labor we worked night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you. It was not because we do not have that right, but to give you in ourselves an example to imitate. For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat. For we hear that some among you walk in idleness, not busy at work, but busybodies. Now such persons we command and encourage in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work quietly and to earn their own living. 

As for you, brothers, do not grow weary in doing good. If anyone does not obey what we say in this letter, take note of that person, and have nothing to do with him, that he may be ashamed. Do not regard him as an enemy, but warn him as a brother.

We've seen in earlier readings that the church in Thessalonica intended to be caught up in the end of the world.  There may well have been members of the church who simply figured they would cease working and depend on the rest of the church for their food and a place to live.

Paul was going to have nothing to do with that behavior. If you don’t contribute, you don’t get to participate and receive the benefits of the community.

For those of us who have a tendency toward being workaholics, this behavior makes absolutely no sense.  There were plenty of those people in the Thessalonian church as well, but rather than correcting the issue, they complained to Paul about it.

He spoke to them firstly, then to those who preferred to sit around and be busybodies. I love that image, I have known plenty of busybodies who have nothing better to do than correct other people’s behavior and gossip about the goings on at church … they would have been much better off working at something, even if it was making bread.

And then Paul finishes this by saying “do not grow weary in doing good.”  Just as he calls for us to avoid idleness, he asks us to ‘do good.’  There are a lot of ways to interpret that in each of our lives.  Find one and do it.