Journal 2 Thes 3 (all references are from the ESV; changes in punctuation are mine)
Scripture: “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.
For you yourselves know how you ought to imitate us because we were not idle when we were with you…It was not because we do not have that right, but to give you in ourselves an example to imitate…For we hear that some among you walk in idleness—not busy at work, but (being) busybodies.
As for you, brothers, do not grow weary in doing good.” Excerpts from 2 Thes 3:6-13
Observation: I get the impression (reading 2 Thessalonians) that all is not well. For example, in chapter 3, there is more about “idle” brothers than there is about “not idle brothers.” Which one should be imitated? Which one sounds like is being imitated? Hint: It isn’t the busy one…
Analysis: After meeting this AM at the IHOP for Coffee with Brian, this reading about idleness is circling back on me.
I think this section of scripture is describing “idleness” but is really about “faithfulness”, or more precisely, “faithlessness in Christ showing itself by way of being idle.”
Not only that, but Paul extrapolates being “busybodies” as idleness. If I look up the synonyms for busybodies, I find meddlers, gossips, interferers, bigmouths, nuisances. Idlers, I find loafers, slouches, sloths, malingers, timewasters. Note: I hate dictionaries at times.
I admit it: all these stick on me most times. But it is not what I want to be…neither do I want to be that guy with hair on fire all the time, always active, always busy, but never seeming to get…things…done.
Putting things on “to do” lists seems to work. But what about “to do” things when it comes to my Walk? I used to do that “back when”, but of late (say the last 30 years) I don’t so much.
Discipline is like that; self-discipline is worse. This scripture comes to mind: “Without vision, the people perish.” (Prov 29:18 NASB) Getting too close to the trees I can lose heart; I think that maybe it was one of the issues with Thessalonica—losing vision is a common occurrence when it comes to the Gospel and the folks of the local Church in particular. Every so often I must “Pump up.”
Pumping myself up by myself is difficult. I remember Ps 88 about how alone the Psalmist felt and cried out to God. What to do?
It is written: “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.” Prov 27.17
So, an easy solution? Phone a buddy, make a deep friend. Help each other walk worthy of the Gospel.
It’s a start…and I must start somewhere…
Prayer: Father, the word “accountability” gets thrown around way too much and it is out of context for what You desire between people following after You. The word “friendship” is used out of context as well I think, for I think “friendship” is used where “acquaintance” is more appropriate.
If I want to avoid Idleness there are X things I need to pay attention to: 1) Disconnecting the magnet in my Lazy Boy; 2) Looking to make deeper friendships; 3) Doing all the Spiritual Disciplines in a very consistent manner, and lastly, 4) when I fail, and I will, get up, confess, repent, and get back on the horse and ride.
You approve of these things. I know because this is what you say in your Word. Hear, then, my prayer O God, my Savior and help me chase hard after You. AMEN.