Storms, Flooded Basements, and Hard 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 . . . 2 Thessalonians 3:6
As many of you know, we recently experienced significant spring storms, which brought rain, high winds, and a power outage. Our sump pump had been running frequently and with the electricity out, the sump pump hole began to fill. Soon, our basement was going to be flooded. It’s a bit of a long story, but in the end, we ran an extension cord from my pickup to a different pump that had to be monitored and manually shut off whenever the water got low. I had to work in the morning, so my son volunteered to stay up most of the night, turning the pickup on and off, finding a gas station in the middle of the night, and managing the pump. In the end, his hard work kept the basement dry. I know I’m bragging a little, but I very much appreciated that when something difficult had to be done, he stepped up and just did it.
In today’s passage, Paul taught that there is value in work. When he was with the Thessalonians, Paul apparently worked for a living and didn’t rely on the church for financial support. He did this to not be a burden on them and to be an example that they would work hard. Paul taught that the church was supposed to help those who were struggling financially, but apparently some in the church were taking advantage of this by simply not working. So here, Paul taught that being lazy or idle is sinful and that everyone who can, must work. This is a spiritual principle taught in scripture – It is a good thing to work hard.
For some of us, work can be an addiction. The workaholic devotes all his time and energy to his job, neglecting his family. Today’s passage isn’t written for him. Today’s passage is for those of us who’s nature it is to be lazy. Maybe we show up late and leave early. Maybe we give a half effort, doing the minimum amount possible. Or maybe we don’t do anything, relying on others to do it for us. To us, Paul said that laziness is an embarrassment to the cause of Christ and that if we don’t work hard, we simply shouldn’t eat.
Life is hard work and almost anything good in life requires hard work. The easy or lazy thing usually isn’t the right thing. If we desire to live rightly, following Christ, we are supposed to work and work hard, doing whatever we do as if for God himself (Colossians 3:23).