As I sit here in my chair looking out the window, it is 92 degrees and feels like 105 degrees. Since 8:00 am a moving truck and 3 workers have been loading up my neighbors belongings. They have taken much needed breaks and I see lots of water bottles around, but they are working hard getting everything loaded into that truck. Not once have I witnessed one of them sit down and be lazy in this scorching heat!
In todays reading of 2 Thessalonians chapter 3, Paul winds up his letter with final instructions about working hard and not giving in to idleness.
I can just imagine what would happen across the street if one of the movers sat down and got lazy while the others continued to carry heavy boxes and furniture from the house to the truck! I am pretty sure that a fight might break out or word would definitely get back to the boss about the one being lazy. This lazy worker would disrupt, discourage and could even embitter the whole group of movers. This is what Paul was seeing in Thessolonica. People were becoming idle as they were waiting for the Lord to return. As they were not busy, they became busybodies. They stirred up trouble with their gossipy, busybody behavior. The problem was unsettling the church. These people had so much time on their hands that they were meddling in others’ affairs and causing problems, rather than living quiet lives and providing for their families.
Idleness can be defined as a lack of pursuing spiritual things. Idleness is not just being a couch potato, laying on the sofa. You can be very busy at your daytime job, cleaning around the house, doing outdoor work or even volunteering in your community. But that business is not going to keep fiery darts from the evil one from hitting you, if your mind isn’t on Jesus, it is not being renewed. If you are not pursuing God, you will be pursued and overtaken by the thoughts of this world. This is the sin of idleness – a lack of pursuing god.
2 Thessalonians 3:3 reminds us, “But the Lord is faithful, who will establish you and guard you from the evil one.” He is true to His promises. He cannot lie or pull any punches. What He promises, He delivers. God will establish us and guard us from the evil one. God will also “guard” us. He is our defender. He stands guard for us.
When we are not idle and spend time in the Word of God, we put more truth in our souls. The more truth we hide in our hearts, the more stable we become because God is faithful to us. God’s faithfulness toward us inspires trust. Trust in God’s faithfulness gives us stability because we know that He will be true to His Word (Numbers 23:19). We have His support in any situation we face.
While we wait for the Lord’s return, just as they were doing in this passage, we are instructed to live as responsible members of our families, neighborhoods, and communities. We need to strive to represent Jesus well.