2 Thessalonians 3
“Finally brothers, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may speed ahead and be honored, as happened among you, and that we may be delivered from wicked and evil men. For not all have faith.” 2 Thessalonians 3:1-2
Paul is seen asking for prayer from the churches he is ministering to over and over. Let’s let this be a lesson to us. Paul, who had a face to face with the resurrected Jesus and was struck blind and regained his sight and was probably as on fire for Jesus as anyone ever was asking for prayer. How many times do we say “well all we can do is pray.” Or “at least we can pray about it.” Friends the MOST we can do for each other is to pray! And then to BELIEVE in the power of that prayer!!! So yes pray for me, pray for each other, pray for your pastor, pray for our president! It’s the MOST we can do.
Paul is asking for prayer to be protected from wicked and evil men. Paul had already been run out of Thessalonica by people who did not believe the gospel and we know that he would encounter many wicked and evil people in his lifetime. But he had faith and was encouraging the Thessalonians would continue to walk as he had already directed them and to remain steadfast in their faith.
“But the Lord is faithful He will establish you and guard you against the evil one. And we have confidence in the Lord about you, that you are doing and will do the things that we command. May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ.” 2 Thessalonians 3:3-5
We have seen over and over again in Paul’s letters that he worked wherever he went and paid his own way. It is not that Paul thought that Apostles did not have rights to be supported by the church. They certainly did, just like our pastors today have a right to be supported by the church. I have read that it is supposed and especially here in Thessalonians that Paul worked as he did to be an example for the people. I also wonder (and these are my thoughts) if Paul didn’t somewhere in his mind think he should work harder because of his persecution of the church in his previous life. I think that would be a very human thing to think. But Paul also points out here that the church should not put up with those who will not work.
“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.” 2 Thessalonians 3:6
Be sure you read that right. Paul is not saying that we stay away from someone who can’t work or someone who lapses temporarily even but he says stay away from someone “who is walking in idleness”. If this is their way of life, it is not in accordance with scripture. Everyone should work as they are able.
“For we hear that some among you walk in idleness, not busy at work, but busybodies. Now such persons we command and encourage in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work quietly and to earn their own living.” 2 Thessalonians 3:11-12
That puts it pretty plainly don’t you think. Please note that while we are not to support those who will not work we are also to do our work quietly and not to be busybodies ourselves by pointing them out.
“As for your, brothers, do not grow weary in doing good. If anyone does not obey what we say in this letter, take note of that person, and have nothing to do with him, that he may be ashamed. Do not regard him as an enemy, but warn him as a brother.” 2 Thessalonians 3:13-15
Sometimes it’s hard not to grow weary if we feel we are doing good. This is Paul’s encouragement to the Thessalonians and we get to feel the benefit of it also. If you see someone who is idle and will not work you do not have to feel obligated to feed them. That’s hard sometimes because we want to be compassionate. I think the lesson here is to try to give them a hand up. If you have a job or know of a job for them, offer it to them. Warn them but if you can see that idleness or laziness or lifestyle is the problem you are not obligated to them.
Paul closes this letter much the same way as he closes all. In his own hand with an offering and a prayer of peach and grace.
“Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with you all. I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand. This is the sign of genuineness in every letter of mine; it is the way I write. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.” 2 Thessalonians 3:16-17
Please remember to pray for our president and government leaders today.