Saturday, December 12, 2015

2 Thessalonians 3:6-8

2 Thessalonians 3:6-8
And we command you all, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to keep yourselves away from every brother who behaves lazily and not according to the traditions that they received from us.  For you all yourselves have known how it is necessary to imitate us, because we were not idle in you all.  Nor did we eat bread from anyone without paying.  But rather, in hard work and difficult labor we work night and day so as not to be a burden to any of you all.

Thoughts for Today

First Thought:

Paul argues against laziness.  In fact, Paul considers laziness so dangerous that he argues against even going near it.  The thing about laziness is that everyone loves having time off.  Everyone loves not having something to do.  We all love relaxation.  Truth be known, relaxation isn’t even a bad thing.  Just like money isn’t a bad thing but the love of money is, relaxation isn’t a bad thing but the love of it is.  We can fall in love with the idea of relaxing so much that we begin to no longer be productive.  When we are no longer productive, we lose purpose and value in our community.  Of course, when we lose purpose and value in our community, we also lose our ability to make a difference in our community, too.  Thus we come to Paul’s point.  When we are lazy, who will listen to our witness about God?

Have you thought about laziness with a perspective on witness before?  Do you believe that Paul is right and our laziness impacts our ability to be a witness for God?

Second Thought:

Paul gets very specific.  Paul reminds the people of Thessalonica that they were taught about laziness directly from Paul.  This shows us that it is important to teach against laziness.  After all, if we all enjoy a bit of relaxation for a time, then we are all susceptible to the temptation of laziness.  If we are susceptible, then we certainly need to prepare people in order for them to resist the temptation.

Do you teach against the temptation of laziness?  In order to teach against laziness, what kind of a life do you need to live?

Third Thought:

I have to confess that this passage has always been a passage that has confounded me with respect to the New Testament church.  Our church model is often one such that we pay an expert to be in our midst and teach us, do our weddings and funerals, and make sure that someone is there to make sure worship happens on Sunday.  However, as I study the New Testament, this is not what I see.  I see Jesus, who wanders throughout Judea preaching and teaching.  I see Paul, who works hard as a tentmaker while preaching and teaching anyone who would listen.  When I look at the New Testament, I see leaders who were mobile and willing to go wherever God led them and minister to whomever God brought into their midst.  I don’t necessarily think that it is wrong for a minister to draw pay from a congregation.  After all, Paul in this section of scripture says that he had the right to do so!  But even with the right, it isn’t a model that we see Paul enacting in his life.  Paul supports himself so that others don’t have to.  Once more we see Paul making a choice that seems contrary to the logic of the world.

Why can this passage be troubling, especially to people who are rooted in modern Christianity?  What is neat about Paul’s example here?

Passage for Tomorrow: 2 Thessalonians 3:9-12
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