Summary: We can apply this principle of diligence to our spiritual lives, not simply our jobs. If we become lax or idle in our pursuit of God (worship, prayer, service, etc.), we will find ourselves missing God’s will.
Too Busy to Work
2 Thessalonians 3:6-12 6 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. 7 For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example. We were not idle when we were with you, 8 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. 9 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. 10 For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: "If a man will not work, he shall not eat." 11 We hear that some among you are idle. They are not busy; they are busybodies. 12 Such people we command and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and earn the bread they eat.
Intro: A woman went with her husband to the doctor’s office. When the checkup was over, the doctor asked the man to wait outside so he could talk to the wife. He had a very somber look on his face and asked her to sit down, “Your husband is suffering from a very severe stress disorder. If you don’t do what I ask, he is not going to make it. Here’s what I want you to do. Get up early each morning and fix him a healthy breakfast. Make him a nutritious lunch and prepare a really special dinner every night. Be pleasant at all times. Don’t burden him with chores or discuss your problems with him. You will need to do almost all the work around the house. And, you can’t nag him about anything. If you can do this for a year, your husband will completely regain his health.”
-As they were driving home, the husband turned to his wife and asked, “What did the doctor say?” To which she replied, “He said you’re not going to make it!”
-This is an interesting passage as Paul calls out some lazy Christians who were part of the church at Thessalonica. Apparently, they were capable of working, but instead chose to live off of the community, or perhaps off of the generosity of some of the wealthy Christians, who likely felt obligated to keep feeding them and taking care of them. This can be a touchy area b/c some people are disabled and cannot work. Some cannot seem to find work, but they can still find something helpful to do for others. And then there are some jobs where people don’t have to work hard physically, but they do a lot of mental and/or emotionally taxing work. Some jobs are high pressure, while some are pretty laid back. Some are filled with rewards, incentives, appreciation, and perks, while others are just a paycheck. Some people who work are lazy, while some who cannot work are very industrious and still are able to do a lot for themselves and for others. Having a job does not guarantee a person has a good work ethic. Diligence is really a character quality that shows through in all that we do. And while it’s okay to work smarter, not harder, your work ethic does say something about you.
-Our community has more blue collar workers with blue collar values than anything else. So, depending on who we are trying to reach, we need to take a look at our work ethic. If people see us as not being willing to work then we might not gain enough respect for them to listen to what we have to say about Jesus.
-Now as we look at these verses, I feel compelled to apply this principle of diligence to our spiritual lives, not simply our jobs. If we become lax or idle in our pursuit of God (worship, prayer, service, etc.), we will find ourselves missing God’s will. Jesus told a story of a servant who received a small amount of money (a talent) from his master, but he buried it until the master returned and did nothing with it. Jesus (thru His storytelling method) called this man a wicked and lazy servant b/c he did not use what the master gave him. Sometimes, a lazy attitude about work in general can carry over into other areas in our lives. Are you too lazy to love? Are you too lazy to encourage people? Are you too lazy to serve others? Are you too lazy to lead others? Speak truth? Teach? Show mercy? Sometimes, we can get so busy with distractions and time-wasters that we don’t have time for the things that are most important.