“Word for Today” – 2 Thessalonians 3 – www.concordialutheranchurch.com

December 2, 2009 at 4:45 am Leave a comment

Oh what sordid stories the office water cooler could tell.  Yes, there are the Monday morning conversations about the Sunday afternoon football games.  Those are innocuous enough.  But then there are the less savory conversations – the ones that tend to be whispered rather than spoken.  “Did you hear,” one person might murmur, “that Steve’s wife caught him at a bar with another woman?”  “Yeah,” another might respond, “I heard she didn’t let him to come home last night.”  Oh what sordid stories that office water cooler could tell.  Are they important stories?  Perhaps, but they are certainly not appropriate in the context of the water cooler.  Are they edifying stories?  Most certainly not.  Are they juicy and enthralling stories?  Yes.  And that’s why people can’t resist sharing them in their best tabloid like tenor.

In our reading for today from 2 Thessalonians 3, Paul addresses much of the conversation that is shared around office water coolers.  He writes:  We hear that some among you are idle. They are not busy; they are busybodies. Such people we command and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and earn the bread they eat” (verses 11-12).  Paul warns that those who do not work will find work to do.  But it will not be noble work; rather, it will be the sinful work of gossip.  Paul’s wordplay in verse 11 is masterful and is retained quite well by the NIV.  The Greek word for “busy” is ergazomai while the word for “busybody” is periergazomai.  Notice the preposition of the second word – peri – from whence we get our English word “perimeter,” meaning, “around.”  Paul’s argument is this:  If a person does not work, he will “work around,” so to speak, running around and butting into other people’s affairs.  Such busybody work is sinful and dangerous.

True work, not busybody work, is a gift from God.  Indeed, when God created the heavens and the earth, one of the things we are told about the first man Adam is: “The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it” (Genesis 2:15).  We were created not for idleness, but for work.  Sadly, many people have traded their God-given mandate to work for the allures of laziness and “working around.”  One 2005 survey found that the average office worker spends 2.09 hours per day surfing the internet when he or she should be working.  Of course, these time wasters had a whole host of excuses as to why they fritter away their work hours.  “I’m underpaid for the work I do,” some said.  “My co-workers distract me,” others responded.  And then there was, “I don’t have enough evening or weekend time to relax.”  But regardless of the excuse, the bottom line is this:  Such idleness breaks the command of God.

So how are we, as Christians, to respond to the gossip, laziness, and lethargy so prevalent among so many?  Paul gives us this answer:  “As for you, brothers, do not grow weary in doing good” (verse 13, ESV).  We are to roll up our sleeves and do good – yes, even to those who are lazy, lethargic, and busybodies.  Idleness and gossip may mark the ways of the world, but it should not mark the way of a Christian. So what good thing can you do today?  It may be work, but remember, God made you to find joy in such work.  Thank God for the tasks he has given you today.

Entry filed under: Word for Today.

“Word for Today” – 2 Thessalonians 2 – www.concordialutheranchurch.com “Word for Today” – Hebrews 1 – www.concordialutheranchurch.com

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