Reading for Friday, Dec. 21: 2 Thess. 3
As Paul closes this brief letter, he asks the Thessalonian brothers and sisters to pray for him (v1) and the work that he and Timothy and Silas have undertaken. Believers move as lambs in a world of wolves and Paul asks for this fellow Christians to pray for deliverance from the clutches of wickedness. Yet again, we see this played out in our own times. One week ago, we were all shocked by the senseless tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut. Though we still struggle to understand these kinds of horrific nightmares, we need no further proof that our world is a hard place. “For not all have faith,” (v2).
As for the faithful, we have no excuse for idleness. Paul understands accountability to be a core tenet of the Christian experience. Here he warns to “keep away from any brother who is walking in idleness” (v6). He extends this teaching even more in v10: “If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat.” Although the NT church is marked by radical generosity, especially toward the “least of these”, we should also encourage accountability, responsibility, and a strong work ethic. Paul holds up his own example among the Thessalonians, one who labored along with the church, not exacting from them the demands of apostleship. Paul seems to have little time for laziness: “Do not grow weary in doing good,” (v13).
Paul concludes with a blessing: “Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with you all.” (v16)