Truth-telling Holy Spirit, breathe Your truth on me today. Bring fresh life to the Word, and through it, to me.
Read 2 Thessalonians 3:6-18
Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION
Jesus said that he works as his Father works (John 5:17). Consider what they both do in and around you.
The early church seemed to attract people who did not want to work (Eph. 4:28; 1 Tim. 5:13). But Paul isn’t speaking here to those who are struggling with the unwanted, enforced unemployment of our current times. Some of the early Thessalonian Christians may have thought that a religion which rests on grace rather than works would be suitable for the idle, but it is much more likely that the Christian church was the only place where unproductive members of society experienced love and personal care. However, that did not mean that they should continue to be idle. Paul may have been aware of this tendency in Thessalonica, since he had deliberately made sure that he gave an example of working with his own hands so as to supply all that was needed for his life and ministry (7-10).
Idleness is bad in itself, but it is even worse when the spare time is used to damage others by interfering in their lives (11). Use of free time is a challenge to us all. We may use it for self-indulgence that is detrimental to our personal spiritual lives, but it is even worse when that time is used to damage the work of God in other people. If we have time to meddle in the lives of others, are we properly engaged in our own responsibilities?
Paul doesn’t mince words as he finishes the letter. He scrawls his own signature to make them realize that he means what he says and that this is authentic Paul writing. Whether or not in paid employment, “idle” people should feel ashamed as they hear Paul’s words. It is clear how much Paul loves these idle Thessalonians, but they need tough love from the rest of the congregation. It is not love to let them stay idle. The Christian life is one of service to others.
Give thanks to God for the blessings that work has brought to you and pray for those who are without work.
Merciful God, help me to remember that my identity is found in You and not in what I do. I thank You for my work and pray for the unemployed.
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