Slackers And Busybodies in The Church

Time theft-deliberate waste and abuse of company time costs the U.S. economy over $120 billion a year. This loss is three times more than it is for recognized business crime. At some companies 20-40% of employee time is stolen. Office employees are 30% worse than blue-collar work … More

Work

The word command means a military order. Some of the Christian soldiers in the church at Thessalonica were breaking rank and disobeying orders, and Paul had to admonish them. We find disorderly conduct (v. 6) and busybodies (v. 11) in the Thessalonian Church and Paul deals with this problem forcefully.

The Jews honored honest labor and required all their rabbis to have a trade. But the Greeks despised manual labor and their influence led many believers to be lazy. The faithful Christians were discouraged by the conduct of those who refused to work (vv. 6-9). “If they don’t have to work, why should we,” was their argument. The missionaries had taught the Thessalonians to be industrious. Paul made it plain that no Christian who is able but unwilling to work should be maintained by others. Even though Paul had the right to expect financial support he deliberately gave up this right so that he might be an example to the young believers. In fact he worked long and hard so as not to be a financial burden to any of them.

Moving from the example of working for a living Paul focused on another problem. Many were busybodies instead of being busy (vv 10-12). Instead of tending to their own business of earning a living they were meddling in the business of others. As a matter of Church discipline the faithful were not to have social contact with an idle person till he repented, but this did not mean to break off all contact (vv. 13-15). However Paul urged them to treat this person as a brother and not an enemy. Church discipline should always be to produce repentance and not division. Paul signs off by asking the Lord to bless them, fill them with peace and for His grace to be with them (vv. 16-18).

Application

It has been my desire to be a good example in the area of work ethic and pass this on to my children. Much of my life has been ministry related but I’m willing to get my hands dirty at hard labor also.

II Thessalonians 3:6-18 (English Standard Version)

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. Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with you all. I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand. This is the sign of genuineness in every letter of mine; it is the way I write. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.

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