A warning against idleness

July 11th, 2017

In 2 Thessalonians 3:6-10 Paul writes to the believers as a “Warning against idleness” as the NIV puts it or “An exhortation to proper living” as we see it headed in the NLT.

Here is the passage from the NLT…

“6 And now, dear brothers and sisters, we give you this command in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ: Stay away from all believers who live idle lives and don’t follow the tradition they received from us. For you know that you ought to imitate us. We were not idle when we were with you. We never accepted food from anyone without paying for it. We worked hard day and night so we would not be a burden to any of you. We certainly had the right to ask you to feed us, but we wanted to give you an example to follow. 10 Even while we were with you, we gave you this command: “Those unwilling to work will not get to eat.”

In this passage Paul tells the believers that they need to be busy. They need to be working to provide for themselves and also be about the Lord’s work.

Paul says that while he was with them he did not eat for free. He did this for two reasons.

  1. He paid his way so as not to be a burden, even though he had the right to as he said in 1 Corinthians 9:13-15.
  2. He wanted to be an example for the others to follow.

Paul warns the believers not to be idle. Not only is it a bad example, it is not acting in the way we are created to be. All of us are created in the image of God and need to reflect God’s image.

God worked six days in the creation of the world and on the seventh He rested. For us we need to have a Sabbath and rest, but it needs to be after working.

I believe working is actually a gift from God. When we work we use the gifts God has given us. It also gives us a sense of accomplishment for a job well done and working keeps us from being idle.

The last verse in the passage above seems harsh at first glance. “Those unwilling to work will not get to eat.” But when we think about it in light of the above, it makes sense. It really is for our long term good.

So today whatever you do, work hard at it and remember it is not man you are serving, but God (Colossians 3:23).

God Bless,