Summary: Even with full calendars we can be lazy. God calls us to service and away from activities that are not a part of God’s will
II Thessalonians 3:6-15 “Working the System” (Sloth)
In a world of PDA’s, Day Planners, and refrigerator calendars with no white space left, we have difficulty believing that sloth, or laziness, is a sin that we need to seriously deal with in our lives. We will admit to being proud. We will confess to gluttony only if someone threatens to take away our chocolates. We might even be willing to agree to a lustful thought or two, but never laziness.
Is it possible for a person who is chronically sleep deprived, and who longs for a moment to put his or her feet up and relax, to be lazy? Should the sin of laziness be a concern for those of us who are working longer hours, facing endless commutes, and struggling with diminishing leisure time? The short answer is, “Yes.”
We live in a society were television viewing is on the rise. People are spending hours on their computer in chat rooms, or they are entranced by video games. Is it possible for laziness to be found on the golf course, or the fishing hole? Can we be lazy in the pages of a spellbinding novel?
The congregation at Thessalonica had a problem. Several members of the fellowship had stopped working. These people believed that the return of Jesus was immanent. If Jesus was coming soon, they saw no reason to work. They didn’t need to save for a retirement, and it was more important to focus on spiritual things.
The attitude and idleness of these people created problems in the congregation.
¨ Rather than devote themselves to the study of Scripture and prayer, the lazy people became busybodies and interfered with the lives of others.
¨ The people of the congregation, because of their Christian love, supported the lazy lifestyles of these people and drained the resources of the congregation so that it could not care for the poor, hungry, and needy.
¨ The lazy demonstrated a bad lifestyle to the others that Paul did not want anyone else to emulate.
Laziness was not a neutral force in the Thessalonian congregation. The laziness of a few people hindered the outreach of the Christian community and prevented them from accomplishing God’s will.
A MISUNDERSTANDING AT ITS ROOT
The lazy people in Thessalonica misunderstood why God had shed God’s grace and love upon them and gathered them into God’s family. They thought it was because God wanted to save them and have them go to heaven when they died. God had moved in their lives, just like God moves in our lives, for greater reasons than our personal salvation. God touches us so that we can be God’s shining lights in the world, salt to the earth, and witnesses of God’s love and glory.
When God called Abraham and told Abraham that God would make him a great nation, God also told Abraham that God would bless him so that he would be a blessing. Blessings are never meant to stop with us. Blessings are intended to flow through us.
Paul wrote to the Ephesians that they were saved by grace through faith, not by works, but for good works.
In a scene from the end times that is found in Matthew 25, Christians are judged by what they have done with their blessings and how they have ministered to the needs of other people.
Laziness is not limited to idleness. Laziness is a lifestyle that prevents us from using our gifts and talents to accomplish God’s will in our lives.
THE PATH OF SERVICE
The opposite of the sin of laziness is the virtue of service. Jesus Christ lived, died and rose again from the dead not so that we could be lazy and not worry about things physical and spiritual, but so that we could serve.
We are able to take several steps that lead us away from laziness and toward an abundant life of service.
¨ Take time to discover your gifts, talents and passions,
¨ Discern what area of ministry God is calling you to. Hints at what God wants to do in and through you may be through open and closed doors, gut feelings, and the advice and counsel of others.
¨ Learn to say “No.” Keeping busy is not the antidote for laziness; purposeful living is.
¨ Find out the things of life in which you find rest, refreshment and renewal. Make those a part of your life and shun those activities that are simply a waste of time.
Celebrate that you are God’s chosen people. God has moved in your life so that you cannot only be God’s son or daughter, but also God’s servant, God’s ambassador, God’s prophet and God’s priest.
Is the sin of laziness a part of all of our lives? Yes.