As Christians, we naturally want to be kind to someone who appears down on his or her luck. After all, isn’t that the Christ-like thing to do? Aren’t we supposed to feed the poor and help the downtrodden as they struggle to make ends meet? Of course!
But what about those who are so lazy that they are not willing to lift one finger to help themselves when they can? What about those who always take advantage of kind-hearted individuals who just want to lend a helping hand? These kinds of persons will eventually be found out. Consider this funny story:
Fearing he was a bad example to their children, the pioneers of an 1800’s Midwest community decided to “resettle” the laziest man in town elsewhere.
They loaded the unprotesting chap on a wagon. But as they approached the town limits, they met a kind-hearted farmer, who asked what was going on.
“This is the laziest man in the world,” someone shouted, “and we’re ashamed to have him around anymore.”
“Come, come—no one can be that lazy,” the farmer responded. “I’m sure he’s just down on his luck. Here…I’ll put up 5 bushels of corn to help this poor soul back on his feet.”
Hearing the offer, the accused man tipped back his hat and asked suspiciously, “Is it shucked?” (Overheard at The Country Café)
In Second Thessalonians, Chapter 3, the Apostle Paul addressed an issue that was hindering the work of the church. It appears the church was getting lazy when it came to ordinary everyday work that had to get done. Apparently, the church was under the impression that Jesus’ coming was going to be at any moment so they stopped their daily work. They had far too much time on their hands. The only thing they were “busy” at was meddling into other people’s business. Thus, they were idle busy bodies (cp. 1 Peter 4:15).
The Apostle Paul opined,
And now, dear brothers and sisters, we give you this command in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ: Stay away from all believers who live idle lives and don’t follow the tradition they received from us. For you know that you ought to imitate us. We were not idle when we were with you. We never accepted food from anyone without paying for it. We worked hard day and night so we would not be a burden to any of you. We certainly had the right to ask you to feed us, but we wanted to give you an example to follow. Even while we were with you, we gave you this command: “Those unwilling to work will not get to eat.” Yet we hear that some of you are living idle lives, refusing to work and meddling in other people’s business. We command such people and urge them in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and work to earn their own living. As for the rest of you, dear brothers and sisters, never get tired of doing good. (2 Thess. 3:6-13, New Living Translation, NLT)
The apostle was trying to get the members to get off their duffs and get busy. There was work to do—not just as it applied to their occupations but to the work of the Lord, also. He reminded them that much more prophecy had to be fulfilled before Jesus was going to return. For example, the apostasy in the church must arise first and the man of lawlessness is revealed (2 Thess. 2:1-5). So, in the meantime, they must keep on working.
Paul wanted them to know that even though Jesus could come back anytime, it doesn’t mean that we have the right to neglect our work. If we do not work, we will not eat, he said. Some members were becoming like that lazy man who went around taking advantage of the kind-heartedness of persons like that farmer. The community was fed up with it and ready to run him out of town. The church cannot afford to have members who will not pull their own load under the guise of saying the Lord could come today. It weights down others who really are trying to work, especially those who are working to serve the Lord. A lot of people would pull their weight if some weren’t so busy dragging their feet.
The word that is used along with idleness in the passage from Thessalonians is “undisciplined.” Isn’t that really what laziness is? Persons not disciplined to work hard and be productive are too lazy to get anything done while, at the same time, they take advantage of others. Recognizing this problem in the church, the Apostle Paul instructs the members to follow his example and the other church leaders: Be disciplined, industrious, and self-supportive. As they worked, they were to quietly go about their business, get down to the work at hand, and don’t ever tire of doing good.
We can apply this instruction whether we’re working at our jobs, working at home, working to be a good parent or grandparent, working to be good students, working to be good citizens, or working to serve in the church. This is not only great advice for curing laziness, it is also how we can be ready for the soon return of Jesus while we encourage others to be ready, as well.
Here is Hillsong Young and Free singing Wake:
Good News to YOU!