Any parent knows that a child with nothing to do will get into trouble. A toddler gets into the stuff under the sink. An adolescent breaks the lamp playing baseball in the house. A teenager ends up with the wrong group of friends, making bad choices. And this really doesn’t change much as an adult. Paul the apostle knew this to be the case and has some advice for us.
Read 2 Thessalonians 3:6–18. Reflect on 2 Thessalonians 3:11–12:
“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” (ESV).
There were some among the church at Thessalonica who refused to work (see 2 Thessalonians 3:6–10). And as a result, they found themselves concerned with matters irrelevant to them. Paul seems to mean that they were meddling and gossiping. They were “getting into trouble” because of their “idle hands,” as grandma would say.
Paul realizes that there is a much better way—that these “busybodies” work for their own living and concern themselves with ministry matters. It seems to me that our modern ministry setup and charity has led to similar problems.
Today, we see a similar and related problem to what Paul dealt with. We see the work of ministry being delegated only to our pastors. But ministry should be something we all share because (biblically speaking) all Christians are ministers (see 1 Peter 2:5). Furthermore, we see access to charitable resources being so easy that many people refuse to work. A handout culture has made many people refuse to work and led to many other problems. (I’ve seen this firsthand.)
We should each look at ourselves as modern-day missionaries, reaching our communities. We should look at work as a godly and important endeavor to our lives.
Jesus shouldn’t be an excuse not to work; instead, Jesus should be the reason why we work, so that we may minister through the process. We should be missionaries at our workplace and in the rest of life.
In what ways can your church call people to be serious about work, while still meeting real needs? How can your church inspire people to live Jesus’ mission, while having full-time jobs (in the workplace or raising their children)? Drop me a comment, I would love to hear from you.
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