Out of Order - 2 Thessalonians 3

Out of Order

2 Thessalonians 3:1-18

If a vending machine doesn't work, we say that it is out of order.  The apostle Paul had a word for idle brethren at Thessalonica.  It was disorderly.  He wrote, "We hear that there are some who walk among you in a disorderly manner, not working at all, but are busybodies."  They walked and talked, but didn't work.  They poked their noses into everybody else's business.

When Paul and Silas planted the church in Thessalonica, they issued a command, saying, "If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat."  In Paul's first letter he said, "We urge you...that you also aspire to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you."  1 Thessalonians 4:10, 11.  Apparently even then the apostle witnessed the need for such a command.

Paul and Silas led by example.  "For you yourselves know how you ought to follow us, for we were not disorderly among you; nor did we eat anyone's bread free of charge, but worked with labor and toil night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you."  Paul was a tentmaker by trade.  He worked to support himself.

Today some ministers are called "bi-vocational."  In many cases they pastor small churches that cannot afford to pay them an adequate salary, so they work part-time to pay their bills.  Some see this second job as a crutch and a lack of faith.  Shouldn't we trust the Lord to meet all of our needs?  Of course!  However, thank God for employment opportunities.  Honest work is honorable.

There are those who "live by faith" and do very little.  They often trust God with both hands out.  Their reach is often extended by the postal service, who deliver letters that they have written, usually with a self-addressed envelope for gifts.  This is not a disapproval of those who diligently serve Christ and promote their ministry through the mail.  It is a criticism of those who are like the out of order vending machine, who don't work.

How should the church deal with idle Christians?  "But we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you withdraw from every brother who walks disorderly...."  In the fellowship of believers freeloaders are not welcome.  The idle brother is not an enemy, but he should be exhorted to work in quietness, and eat his own bread.

In the meantime, "as for you, brethren, do not grow weary in doing good."  Christians should support the weak, and provide food for those who are hungry.  But the disorderly....

 

Heavenly Father, You feed the sparrows.  Thank You for caring for our daily needs.  Keep us from idleness, and from laboring for the wind.  We want to serve You always.  In Jesus' name.  Amen!

 

The Day of Christ - 2 Thessalonians 2

 
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