“We hear that some among you are idle and disruptive. They are not busy; they are busybodies.”2 Thessalonians 3:11/NIV
The Bible teaches us that we are God’s workmanship created through Christ Jesus to do good works (Ephesians 2:10), and we should use whatever gifts God has given us to serve others as faithful stewards of God’s grace (1 Peter 4:10). As I read these Bible verses, a message is sent to me to understand what gifts, strengths, and qualities God has extended to me, and I should be active with demonstrating these to others to help them. The Bible indicates as we help others with the gifts God has given us, this may be an extension of His grace to others. As such, I should be compliant with what the Bible says I should do, which will demonstrate God’s grace while extending blessings to others. These passages encourage me to be active in doing the Lord’s work and not be lazy or idle.
When people become routinely idle, the Bible indicates there is a high risk of getting into trouble. The book of Proverbs affirms this concern: “Idle hands are the devil’s workshop; idle lips are his mouthpiece” (16:27/NIV). Idle hands may be at risk for actions that would manifest the devil’s schemes, and, likewise, idle lips may result in less than godly chatter which could ultimately be destructive! Many years ago, while serving in the United States Navy, a common saying for sailors, similar to these stated concerns, would be this: “loose lips sink ships.” Be careful with what you say because if the enemy is listening, we may lose a ship and many lives! Ephesians 4:29 encourages us to speak to others in a manner that would build them up so that they may benefit from what we have to say!
As the Apostle Paul writes in 2 Thessalonians chapter 3, he “commands” us to maintain distance from “every believer who is idle and disruptive and does not live according to the teaching” they have received. This instruction is provided to minimize the risk of them rubbing off on godly souls going astray and us. Paul mentions that he and fellow believers “worked night and day, laboring and toiling so that they would not be a burden” to anyone. He and his contemporaries demonstrated a dynamic work ethic and were proper examples for people to emulate. Paul even states (vs. 10): “For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.” He also notes: “Take special note of anyone who does not obey our instruction in this letter. Do not associate with them, so that they may feel ashamed” (vs. 14).
Paul provides further coaching for us regarding idle souls: “Yet do not regard them as an enemy, but warn them as you would a fellow believer” (vs. 15). Idle souls are not our adversary but individuals, who like many of us, need mentorship and encouragement. With verse 15, we understand that Paul does not desire to turn his back on others but seeks to mentor them to become faithful followers and productive in their ministries. While reading these passages and performing a self-assessment, I also explore myself and search for evidence of idleness and lack of productivity with doing the work that God has placed before me to do.
Perhaps on a good day when I am very busy with “all cylinders” running hard, I wonder if I could do more. Or, maybe, I am doing greater good than I could imagine. As I seek to be “a faithful sower,” I am planting seeds, watering, and fertilizing with way more benefit than I could ever imagine. The Bible teaches that where a person’s treasure, that is where their heart will also be; therefore, by their fruits, you will know them; as the water reflects the face, so one’s life reflects their heart. There is always room for growth and maturity in my Christian walk, and as such, I will move forward seeking to remain busy doing the Lord’s work and not become idle! I will move forward with this Bible verse in mind: “And as for you, brothers and sisters, never tire of doing what is good” (2 Thessalonians 5:13)! Amen!
Many blessings to you!
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture is taken from the New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.
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