6: "Now we command you, beloved, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, to keep away from believers who are living in idleness and not according to the tradition that they received from us." - Lack of effort and laziness will lead to sin. Pursuing God's will for our lives involves constant prayer, work, and diligence.
7: "For you yourselves know how you ought to imitate us; we were not idle when we were with you." - Paul along with generations of Christians since, have modeled for us the essence of a Christian lifestyle. We know what to do and our job lies clearly before us.
9: "This was not because we do not have that right, but in order to give you an example to imitate." - As fully devoted disciples of Christ we have earned the right to rest on our laurels, but if we should, then who will provide the model of Christ-like living for the generations to follow?
11: "For we hear that some of you are living in idleness, mere busybodies, not doing any work." - Some Thessalonians had decided that since Christ's return was imminent, they no longer needed to work. They had become a burden to others in the early Christian church.
13: "Brothers and sisters, do not be weary in doing what is right." - Paul teaches that our work is worth while and God's kingdom is revealed by our continued efforts.
Points to Contemplate:
Are you a worker or a watcher?
Do you always respond to a call for help? Or, do you often feel that you are too busy to respond to every need that comes your way? Where in your studies of Jesus have you seen this approach to a Christian life modeled? What Bible verses have you read that teach you to sit on the sidelines of faith without jumping into the game? Will today's verses from Paul's letter cause you to think twice the next time you are about to turn down an opportunity to serve?
Have you earned the right for a rest? Do you feel that you have served enough time on the worship team or as a teacher in Sunday School and now it is time to step aside and let someone else have a turn? Have you put in your three-year stint and feel its time to focus on your own life for awhile? When you serve on a committee do you feel trapped or obligated to be there? Is your heart involved or are you looking for a quick exit? What kind of example are you setting for those who follow? Will they too, only give a partial effort and will their exit plan dominate their thoughts? If this is the essence of committee work at your church, who is left to build the kingdom of heaven? What kind of kingdom will we have?
Are you frustrated and ready to quit? Does it seem that all your effort is for naught? Have you worked hard and toiled long only to see things plodding away as always? Do you wonder if you have made any real difference? When the setbacks start piling up and the workload gets higher, or when your personal life changes and challenges of health or wealth beat at your door, are your first thoughts to quit? Does Paul's message instill in your heart an understanding of the importance of your task? Are you strengthened to know that you are called to do what is right and that the kingdom of heaven is at stake? Have you come to realize that everything you do is well worth the effort? Promises of the Gospel:
There are times in ministry when we desperately need to hear the words: "do not be weary in doing what is right" because weariness is all we feel. The issues of life we face sometimes tend to weigh heavily on our shoulders. When this happens, a nice relaxing stop on the sidelines of faith seems to be just what is needed. Idleness, however, is the devil's play ground. Paul reminds us that when we look to Christ and model our lives after the examples of His disciples, we will come to realize that a Christian life is a life filled with work to be done. Lying in green pastures is a fine activity as long as we pull some weeds while we are there. Being ready at all times for those who God sends our way means that we must be constantly focused on God. Taking time off only results in a lack of preparedness that will turn people from Christ just at the moment when they may need Him the most. We are always to remember what is at stake as we respond to the duties and tasks of kingdom building. When we do this then we will never grow weary and God's glory will be fully revealed to all who come.
Gary, as always I enjoy reading your bible studies. It is important to not grow weary. Although, when God tells us it is time to move in a new direction, it is of utmost importance to hear Him and obey. Blessings, Rita