Summary: Sloth is more than laziness. It is lack of working for the betterment of the community: both the community of the body of Christ and the community at large. Basically, it is the failure to make a contribution to make the lives of people around you better.
June 22, 2008
Alright, we are coming down to the final two deadly sins. They are deadly practices and lifestyles because they lead us to destruction and trash the community formed in Jesus. And this one is no different: sloth. Sloth is more than laziness. It is lack of working for the betterment of the community: both the community of the body of Christ and the community at large. Basically, it is the failure to make a contribution to make the lives of people around you better. Which is what ministry and service is all about. This is also called stewardship.
In a few places, the writers of the bible use creation as a model for being a good steward of the world around us. Ants, birds, bees (“busy as a bee”), and the like are lifted up as examples of how God has ordered his world. For example, Proverbs 30:24 says, “Ants are creatures of little strength, yet they store up their food in the summer.” They work all summer to store up food for the winter. Reminds me of a story.
A man was driving down the road. Because of the high price of gas, he usually just put five or ten dollars of gas in his tank here and there as he needed to go somewhere. Except this time, he found himself out of money and then out of gas.
A bee flew up to the window and to the man’s amazement, the bee actually talked (sort of like the Bee Movie). “What seems to be the problem?” asked the bee.
“I’m out of money and out of gas,” answered the man.
The bee told him to wait and he would be right back with help. Minutes later he watched as a huge swarm of bees flew up and flew straight down into his gas tank. After a few minutes, the bees flew out.
“Try it now,” said the original bee.
The car started right up. Now the man was totally blown away.
“What did you put in the gas tank?” asked the man.
The bee answered…BP. (See the picture above)
This morning we are going to look at 2 Thessalonians 3:6-14. This is the second letter that Paul wrote to the church Thessalonica to encourage them and instruct them on some issues that have developed in their community since Paul has left them. One of the themes in these letters is the idea of work specifically working for the Lord. We must understand that faith and works or grace and works run hand in hand. We are saved by the grace of God but this does not mean that we have a free ticket do nothing. It means that as we live according to the teachings of Jesus and live as people of the kingdom, we will be serving and working for God. Let’s read.
In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we command you, brothers, to keep away from every brother who is idle and does not live according to the teaching you received from us. For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example. We were not idle when we were with you, nor did we eat anyone’s food without paying for it. On the contrary, we worked night and day, laboring and toiling so that we would not be a burden to any of you. We did this, not because we do not have the right to such help, but in order to make ourselves a model for you to follow. For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: "If a man will not work, he shall not eat."
We hear that some among you are idle. They are not busy; they are busybodies. Such people we command and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and earn the bread they eat. And as for you, brothers, never tire of doing what is right.
If anyone does not obey our instruction in this letter, take special note of him. Do not associate with him, in order that he may feel ashamed. Yet do not regard him as an enemy, but warn him as a brother.
Some people concluded that Jesus was going to come again soon, they didn’t need to work and do their daily chores. Instead they went from house to house gossiping about this person and that person. Let’s summarize what Paul is saying.
• Idleness (and here I am saying this is a synonym for being slothful) goes against the teachings of Paul and Jesus.
Jesus said in the sermon to store up for ourselves treasures in heaven not on earth. While we are not to be consumed with our work and labors, God does expect us to work.