LINK: 2 Thessalonians 3
In this third chapter we are encouraged to keep doing what is right, to live responsibly, even when in the midst of difficult circumstances.
Evidently some of the Thessalonians, waiting for Jesus' return, quit working and relied on others to provide for them. Paul makes it clear here that Christians should work and not be a burden on others. In fact, if a person won't work, then he shouldn't eat. The church is told to quit providing for those who are idle.
In verses 2-4 Paul turns from the lack of faith in men to the faithfulness of God. He says to pray "that we may be delivered from wicked and evil men. For not all have faith. But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one."(2 Thessalonians 3:2-3 ESV) The passage pivots from those who lack faith and are enemies of God to God's faithfulness. Turning to the Lord in prayer nourishes fresh confidence and hope in Him. No matter what evil threatens, the Lord is in charge and with His people.
If I were to sum up verses 6-15 it would be this way: Be busy, not busybodies! An old saying that reflects this passage is "Idleness is the devil's workshop." This passage, and many in Proverbs, make it clear that it is good to work. If we're not busy working, we will probably be busy gossiping. Today, though, there is a danger of confusing "work" with multitasking and an abundance of activities. I think that this passage uses "busy" in the sense of doing what is worthwhile and good, as well as earning our own living. The verses aren't encouraging a whirlwind of commitments or being a workaholic.
"Now such persons we command and encourage in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work quietly and to earn their own living.
As for you, brothers, do not grow weary in doing good." (2 Thessalonians 3:12-13 ESV)
The fact that Paul tells the Thessalonian believers (and so us) to not grow weary in doing what is right indicates that it's easy to tire of doing good... to tire of keeping on pleasing God. This race is a long one and requires endurance. Jesus will return, and in the meantime we are to continue trying to please Him, which takes perseverance!
Are you discouraged and tired of doing good? "Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with you all." (2 Thessalonians 3:16 ESV)
God is with you! Turn to Him in trust and prayer and keep on keeping on.
Dear Father, Help us to turn to you in faith. Thank you for your faithfulness to us. Enable us to serve you and keep doing what is good. Keep us quietly busy with work so that we won't be so tempted to stick our noses where they don't belong.