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Mid-Week with Christ
November 13, 2019

No Idleness

2 Thess. 3:6-15

 
6 Now we command you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from any brother who is walking in idleness and not in accord with the tradition that you received from us. 7 For you yourselves know how you ought to imitate us, because we were not idle when we were with you, 8 nor did we eat anyone’s bread without paying for it, but with toil and labor we worked night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you. 9 It was not because we do not have that right, but to give you in ourselves an example to imitate. 10 For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat. 11 For we hear that some among you walk in idleness, not busy at work, but busybodies. 12 Now such persons we command and encourage in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work quietly and to earn their own living. 13 As for you, brothers, do not grow weary in doing good. 14 If anyone does not obey what we say in this letter, take note of that person, and have nothing to do with him, that he may be ashamed. 15 Do not regard him as an enemy, but warn him as a brother.
 

Prayer for the Day

 
Blessed Lord, help us to remain fervent in faith but also faithful in work in this life, while we await your return. Amen.


My 9th grade French teacher taught me the wonderful French verb “flaner.” It means to hang around without any purpose, to take a stroll without any real destination, or putting the breaks unnecessarily on a project. It is often translated into English as loitering. But it is, in many ways, the perfect word for what Paul is encouraging the Thessalonian Christians to avoid.
 
There were people in the church in Thessalonica, apparently, who had quit their jobs and were spending all their time waiting for Christ’s return. From a certain perspective, these people looked committed to the cause. They were fully dedicated to Jesus and to following his commandment to await his return. The only problem is that, while waiting, these Christians still had to live in this world. To get bread for today they had to rely on their “less spiritual” brothers and sisters who were still working. Paul has a simple instruction to solve this problem: “If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat.”
 
Christians live a life between two worlds. On the one hand, we eagerly await the Lord’s return. On the other hand, we continue our earthly toil for bread, serving our neighbour, living as good citizens. We do not want to be “spiritual loiterers”, but people who work quietly at work, earning their living while awaiting the coming of Jesus. Our Lord is at work in us through the regular, everyday work we perform for others. That work will sustain us in this life until Jesus returns.
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