Going Deeper 11-14-19

The second reading for Pentecost 23…

2 Thessalonians 3:6-13   Now we command you, beloved, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, to keep away from believers who are living in idleness and not according to the tradition that they received from us.  For you yourselves know how you ought to imitate us; we were not idle when we were with you, and we did not eat anyone's bread without paying for it; but with toil and labor we worked night and day, so that we might not burden any of you.  This was not because we do not have that right, but in order to give you an example to imitate.  For even when we were with you, we gave you this command: Anyone unwilling to work should not eat.  For we hear that some of you are living in idleness, mere busybodies, not doing any work.  Now such persons we command and exhort in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work quietly and to earn their own living.  Brothers and sisters, do not be weary in doing what is right.


It is very rare for Paul to use the imperative “command.”  He consistently urges, encourages, teaches, and exhorts, but seldom commands or demands.  This must be a very important topic!  And what is he addressing?  Laziness.


A long time ago laziness—or slothfulness—was considered to be a very serious sin.  Putting on my coach and teacher hats for a moment, I must say that from my perspective there are few things parents can teach their kids which are more important than a good work ethic.  And I must also say that I have some very grave concerns about what seems to be a growing number of kids—especially in the middle school classrooms—who have little or no work ethic at all. 


But is this really a ‘spiritual’ matter?  Is this really worthy content for a devotional?  Obviously, my answer is a very strong “YES!”  And it is so because if we love someone, we want what is best for them.  And for our children, learning to work hard and doing their best is critically important for them… now, and even more so into their future.


If we stop and think about it, this is an important truth regarding all of God’s laws.  He did not give us commands for the purpose of taking the fun out of life, but in order that we might have life to the fullest.  No, we do not and cannot come close to fulfilling or obeying God’s law… at least not until we respond to God’s forgiveness and grace by committing ourselves to the Spirit-empowered process of transformation.  It is in that gratitude-based freedom that we learn to embrace God’s ways and recognize His laws and commands as gifts from our Creator that guide us to the best way of living. 


With You in Him,

Mark Gabbert, Pastor
Zion Lutheran Church
Wellington, Colorado

"No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care."