June 3, 2014

Today you should read: 2 Thessalonians 3:1-18

“Get up: it’s time to get to work.” I heard this just about every weekend and every day of my summer break as a kid. I grew up on an 88 acre tobacco and cattle farm and work was never ending. I am pretty sure that my dad was hoping for a boy just so he could have free labor. If you have never done farm work then let me give you a bit of a glimpse into what it was like. It was usually hot, back breaking, labor intensive, dirty and time consuming. I was jealous of my friends from school who had parents with white collar jobs. They would talk about Saturday morning cartoons that they got to watch or going to the pool. I had to be up at 6:30 and in the field. I could not wait to grow up one day and make a lot of money and do nothing. Please know that I have respect for white collar jobs and many of my friends learned hard work from their parents as well in different ways. At the time however, my little immature elementary/middle school brain could not understand why I had to work so hard when it seemed like everyone else got to enjoy the comforts of life.

Something happened when I got into high school. I began to appreciate the lessons that I was learning from the farm. The sense of accomplishment that I got after putting in a hard day’s work and seeing progress happen. Also, the sense of satisfaction that I got from knowing that I was contributing to my family and learning to pave my own way in life. Work felt good and the lessons bled over to all other areas of my life.

“The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and keep it.” (Genesis 2:15) Notice that this verse comes to us in Genesis 2 before the fall of man and sin entered the world. Work is a good thing and it glorifies our heavenly father. Many of us (especially in America) think of work as a result of the fall in Genesis 3:17-19. Yes work is hard and rest is a necessary and a grace from God. Yet, because of our sinful nature we can turn rest and comfort from a grace and make it our whole goal in life. The sin of idleness is big in our culture and the church is not immune to this sin.The Greek word used in this passage for idleness means, “in an undisciplined, irresponsible, or disorderly manner.” There are a few things that we can take from Paul’s warning about this sin to apply to our own lives.

1. An idle Christian is not a mature believer (v. 6).
Paul says that these brothers are not following in the example of the gospel that Paul set for them. This is convicting because if you are someone who is idle then you are not displaying the gospel to those around you. Working hard and being disciplined is a characteristic of our Lord Jesus that we should display also. Here are some questions to examine your heart in this area:

i. Do you do the bare minimum at work?
ii. When you see a need to you take care of it or wait for someone else to do it?
iii. How much time do you spend talking or on social media at work?
iv. Would your spouse say that you are helpful and reliable to do household chores?

What kind of work ethic are your children learning from you? Not what you tell them but what you show them?

2. Hard work shows love to others (v.7-9).
Paul as a minister could have taken payment for his ministry but chose not to in other to teach this lesson to the Thessalonians who struggled with idleness. When everyone pulls their weight then everyone benefits but when just one shirks their responsibility then everyone suffers.

Posted: Chad Wiles

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Author: cpclexington

Lexington & Richmond KY

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