Wednesday in the Fifteenth Week of Ordinary Time

2 Thessalonians 3:6-12

Yes, Idleness Is Sin

Paul’s letter hastens to the end but not before he addresses a matter he had previously dealt with in his first letter (4:11-12) but which apparently was not heeded by some in the church.  Indeed, it seems that much of the second letter is an amplification of the first—and why not?  We are such people who generally have to hear something several times before we finally catch on—our minds being so dulled by the fall.

But this time, the Apostle really hits the matter hard.  That matter, that sin, was idleness.  And idleness is sin.  We must remember that, our nature being what it is, our minds, hands, and feet, left to fidget among themselves, will take us places we don’t want to go.  And so work is really a blessing from the Lord.  Work gives us the opportunity to be creative and productive and thereby come along side our Lord (so to speak) in His work of creation.  This is one way that we show that we are indeed made in His image.  Work also keeps our minds occupied, which is indeed a blessing when trials come.  Remember that we were required to manage the garden before we sinned, sin only making work a drudgery as now the fruit of our labors are accompanied by the “thorns and thistles” that hinder our reward.

But in the church in Thessalonica, they were not obeying the word of the Apostle—a word for their own good.  He refers to his own example when he was among them.  Paul was a tentmaker by trade.  And though he might have insisted on provision by preaching the gospel (1 Corinthians 9:3ff), he preferred to set the believers in each place he ministered an example of how Christians should behave in this world before outsiders: by working hard, making their own living, and living a “quiet” life by minding their own affairs and showing the calm assurance of a believer in Christ.

The consequences Paul lays out of living in idleness are severe.  To begin, if one does not work, he should not eat.  This is just common sense.  Granted, there are those who are genuinely disabled, but there are many who are not.  If these be within a congregation, they must be admonished, especially if they are given to asking alms of those who do work.  Paul even commands them (commands them!) to shun such a one, that is, to let him know that his behavior is breaking fellowship with his brothers and sisters in Christ.  But in the end, Paul encourages these as fellow-believers to earn their own living.  They will be happier people if they will, good citizens, and best of all, witnesses before the world that Christians are diligent, hard-working people.

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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