Dear Student of the Word,
Well, it didn't take us long to complete our study of Paul's two letters to the Thessalonians. They are both short works, and here is the last study. I am not sure where we will go from here, but let's just enjoy this last installment and see what you we can learn. Here is what I wrote in part five of this seven-part study:
Study Six, Part Five
9 We did this, not because we do not have the right to such help, but in order to make ourselves a model for you to follow. 10 For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: "If a man will not work, he shall not eat." 11 We hear that some among you are idle. They are not busy; they are busybodies. 12 Such people we command and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and earn the bread they eat.
3:9 – So here in another reason that Paul worked while he ministered, rather than taking his support from the people. Paul wanted to provide an example for the saints. Again, there seemed to have been a problem with people not working and expecting others to provide for them as their Christian duty. Paul wanted to refute this practice by showing the way for it to be done differently.
God may have you do something to be a model for others. That is part of being a leader. I feel that my busy schedule and high productivity are serving as models for others. I don’t ever try to impose my schedule or work habits as a rule, but I do hope some will see them and say, “If he can do all that, then I can surely do this.” That is leading by example. Is there anything similar to this in your life that God is using as an example for others? Does it seem that the “rules” in that situation different for you than for others? If so, don’t complain, but use that as an opportunity to teach others.
3:10 – Don’t think for a minute that Paul was talking about the poor, widows or handicapped. He was referring to those who could work but chose not to. Paul was never afraid to address pertinent, relevant issues that impacted the daily lives of the saints. He not only taught doctrine, but also showed how that doctrine should be carried out in daily life. This is a good pattern to follow—always look for how you can apply your doctrine to what you do every day with your family, co-workers and fellow believers.
In fact, you may want to give some thought to the question: Is there anywhere in my life where my daily actions doesn’t match my doctrinal beliefs? If so, then meditate further on how you can adjust that situation.
3:11 – These freeloaders were living off other people’s productivity and Paul wanted that stopped. There are times when you must say no to those who ask you for something, without being mean-spirited.
3:12 – Paul’s answer to these busybodies was for them to find employment and work with their hands. Often there are easy answers to life’s problems and here the solution was, “Get a job!” My problem is of a different sort. I have so many things before me that I could do that I must “Stay focused.” What is the answer to your current dilemma or situation? Don’t make it more complicated than it is. Ask yourself, “What would Paul say about what I am going through right now?” You may even want to enter into a make-believe dialogue with him to see what he would say!
As always, I welcome your comments to this week's study. For additional Bible studies, check out my website archive, which contains a complete collection of all my verse-by-verse New Testament studies, along with the unpublished volume of The Faith Files.
KENYA UPDATE: You can read the latest update from Pastor Peter concerning the library project here, along with some new pictures. Then please donate by the time I depart next Monday for Kenya either through my website or by sending a check to PurposeQuest, PO Box 8882, Pittsburgh, PA 15221-0882.
KENYA TRAININGS: I will be doing several special workshops while I am in Kenya, which include:
- Training to become certified in the DISC profiling system.
- A Purpose Profiling Seminar to help you understand your purpose, gifts and strengths.
- A Turn Your Dream Into A Reality Seminar to help you take your creativity and make it a reality.
- The Investment in Excellence seminar from The Pacific Institute.
- The PX2 Youth Seminar from The Pacific Institute.
NEW BOOK!: My latest book, The Price of Leadership, arrived last Friday. This is a rewrite and revision of my original leadership book entitled, So Many Leaders, So Little Leadership. You can order your copy here.