Saturday 06 December 2014

Bible Book:
2 Thessalonians

“We did not eat anyone’s bread without paying for it; but with toil and labour we worked night and day, so that we might not burden any of you.” (vv. 7-8)

2 Thessalonians 3:6-13 Saturday 6 December 2014

Psalm: Psalm 75:1-7


In this final section of the letter Paul deals with a practicalmatter that he has already touched on in his first letter (1Thessalonians 4:11; 5:14). Some of the Thessalonians had given upwork in the belief that the end of the world was at hand. It alsoseems (verse 8) that they were depending on other members of theChristian community for their food. He sees them as idlers, andreminds them of his previous teaching that those who were unwillingto work should not eat (verse 10). The emphasis must be on the word"unwilling". They have made a deliberate choice not to work, albeitperhaps for reasons of faith, but this is not the way of Paul. Hehas supported himself during his missionary work by working as atentmaker (Acts 18:3), not wanting to be a burden on thefledgling Church. He sees this as an example for them tofollow.

In verse 11, he describes them as "mere busybodies". It soundsas if they were taking an unhealthy interest in the lives ofothers. Gossip and prying into other people's lives can destroycommunity, and Paul suggests that they get on with some work. Aby-product of that is that they would then have no time for idlegossip.

Whilst Paul suggests that the others should keep away from theidlers (verse 6), he nevertheless goes on to say that they arestill believers (verse 15). An NRSVfootnote suggests the translation 'a brother'. They havemisunderstood Paul's teaching, and their behaviour has left much tobe desired, yet they are still to be dealt with in love.

To Ponder

  • What do you think of Paul's example of 'tent making ministry'whereby Christian work is self-financed? What are the arguments forand against such ministry in today's Church?
  • Have you ever been the subject of gossip? How did you deal withit?

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