Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us.
For yourselves know how ye ought to follow us: for we behaved not ourselves disorderly among you;
Neither did we eat any man’s bread for nought; but wrought with labour and travail night and day, that we might not be chargeable to any of you:
Not because we have not power, but to make ourselves an ensample unto you to follow us.
For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.
For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies.
Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread.
But ye, brethren, be not weary in well doing.
And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed.
Yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother. ~~ 2 Thessalonians 3:6-15 (KJV)
In Paul’s letter to the church at Thessalonica, he warned them against idleness. What he referred to was the idleness of not earning your way in the world. Not doing the work of the Lord with the purpose He had in mind for your life.
He points to himself as the example of working while teaching. This was not because his teaching was not worthy of payment, but because he wanted to show them the industriousness that needs to accompany the teacher. It is not enough to sit idly by and just think in an ivory tower. One needs to have the experience of the work at hand to base one’s theories upon.
I don’t believe it is any accident that this warning immediately follows Paul’s dissertation on the second coming of Christ. Early church fathers knew and accepted the principle that our time is short (in light of eternity) and that we must be busy about the Lord’s work.
The book of Proverbs was well known in Paul’s time. I memorized Proverbs 29:18 in the KJV when I was a child.
Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.
Sometimes it is a struggle to see the vision God has for your life. When the world seems to cave in upon you, when everything you thought you had is ripped away, when tragedy and destruction mark your path, you have great difficulty seeing a vision of your purpose in God’s world.Those minutes and hours, once spent, are irredeemable.
Our purpose is to serve the Lord and His church. For that we need all the time eternity can offer.
Teach us to number our days so that we may give a good account of them when Your Son returns. Grant that we may be useful in Your kingdom. Help us to see the vision You have for our lives.
In Jesus’ most precious name.