2 Thessalonians 3
GOD’S WORD Translation (GW)
6 Brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ we order you not to associate with any believer who doesn’t live a disciplined life and doesn’t follow the tradition you received from us. 7 You know what you must do to imitate us. We lived a disciplined life among you. 8 We didn’t eat anyone’s food without paying for it. Instead, we worked hard and struggled night and day in order not to be a burden to any of you. 9 It’s not as though we didn’t have a right to receive support. Rather, we wanted to set an example for you to follow. 10 While we were with you, we gave you the order: “Whoever doesn’t want to work shouldn’t be allowed to eat.”
11 We hear that some of you are not living disciplined lives. You’re not working, so you go around interfering in other people’s lives. 12 We order and encourage such people by the Lord Jesus Christ to pay attention to their own work so they can support themselves. 13 Brothers and sisters, we can’t allow ourselves to get tired of doing what is right.
14 It may be that some people will not listen to what we say in this letter. Take note of them and don’t associate with them so that they will feel ashamed. 15 Yet, don’t treat them like enemies, but instruct them like brothers and sisters.
16 May the Lord of peace give you his peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you.
17 I, Paul, am writing this greeting with my own hand. In every letter that I send, this is proof that I wrote it.
18 The good will[a] of our Lord Jesus Christ be with all of you.
Imagine if an army were run with the same lack of obedience, order and discipline that we so often experience in the Christian church? It would never with the war. If soliders attended drill whenever they felt like it, arriving late, keeping only partially fit, never cleaning their weapons – they would never be equipped to face the enemy.
Soldiers obey primarily out of a sense of loyalty or fear. But as Christians, we have a far greater motive for obedience: the love we have for God. Jesus reminds us in John 14:15 – “If you love me, you will obey my commandments”.
This obedience needs to reveal itself in the form of discipline. Self discipline is a quality severely lacking not only in the church of Christ today, but in the home, workplace and school. With the lack of self-discipline comes many other issues, not least of these an increase in sin.
In writing to the Thessalonians here, Paul focusses on those who are lazy; those who want to eat without working. Can this also mean those who want to reap the benefits of the Kingdom of God without serving actively? I believe it can, and does.
A CALL TO ACTION
What are you doing to serve God actively?
This is not a rhetorical question – it is one that requires you to answer it, albeit to yourself. Ask yourself what you are really doing to serve God in and through His church. If you come up with nothing, then today is a great day to contact your church and find out where you can serve. If you have a few things on your list, ask yourself how committed and disciplined you are in your serving. Can your discipline and service improve?
A PRAYER TO PRAY
Lord thank you that You have given me an ability and a gift so that I can serve Your body. Please help me to grow in my service and be more disciplined in the way I honour you. Help me to serve you consistently, so that the local church you have placed me in will see me to be reliable in Your kingdom. Please give me opportunities to serve you in more ways. For Your glory, amen.