November 14

2 Thessalonians 3:6-9

“Now we command you, beloved, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, to keep away from believers who are living in idleness and not according to the tradition that they received from us.” vs. 6

Paul was not all sweetness and light in his responses to some of the issues in the congregations that he had helped to found. To say that he was direct is an under-statement, he never hesitated to issue commands when he believed there were serious issues. In this instance, he has heard that some believers in Thessalonica were quitting their jobs and living in idleness. Evidently since they believed in the imminent return of Jesus, they didn’t believe there was any need to continue working. Paul disagreed with passion–he even advised his readers to avoid such folks. Whether that was appropriate or not can be questioned, but it certainly is true that nothing undermines the morale of a congregation more than members who are all talk and no work. This isn’t so much a factor among rule-based Christians–leaders don’t tolerate non-involvement, but where grace is emphasized it can be an issue. Leaders are reluctant to say or do anything that might seem judgmental, and significant numbers of people respond by not doing their share. It’s hard to think of a good solution to this issue–in our time people pretty much do what they want–but there’s no doubt that the mission of the Church is damaged. No team can succeed when members of the team refuse to practice!

Thought for the Day: What’s the morale like in my congregation?

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