Verse of the Day Devotion: 2 Thessalonians 3:13
“But as for you, brethren, do not grow weary of doing good.” – 2 Thessalonians 3:13
Paul, in this section, is warning the Christians not to become idle regarding the works of God. “For we hear that some among you are leading an undisciplined life, doing no work at all, but acting like busybodies.” 2 Thessalonians 3:11. We are not completely sure how Paul heard about this, whether by Timothy, or by someone else. He did not doubt its truth, and he seems to have been prepared to believe it the more readily from what he saw when he was among them. However, he was notified, it was related to Paul they were not doing the work for which they had, by God, been called. On the contrary, they were simply being busybodies. The idea here regarding the term ‘busybody’ is going about doing useless deeds, to keep busy with trivial and useless matters. Here, Paul is essentially saying they are doing none of what they should be doing yet overdoing and being involved in the business of others. In other words, busy about everyone’s business but their own. The well-known theologian Charles Spurgeon puts it this way. “Not doing their own business, and therefore putting their noses into everybody else’s business”.
Also, they did no real work but put forth the pretense they were. To put forth a pretense is to make something that is not true appear to be true. And taking this to a higher level, the problem of these declared as disorderly was not simply that they did not want to work, but that they refused to work. They did not want to help others, but rather to be helped by others. We do not know the exact reason why they opted to continue to live as clients. Manual labor was, as we have seen, despised by not a few, especially the social elite, but some philosophers and others considered such labor noble.
Now, Paul corrects these people in the next verse. “Now such persons we command and exhort in the Lord Jesus Christ to work in quiet fashion and eat their own bread.” 1 Thessalonians 3:12. He is telling these that at the least, they should do whatever work is necessary to meet their own needs, and to do I quietly in a peaceful manner. We read this idea in the first letter. “Now as to the love of the brethren, you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another; for indeed you do practice it toward all the brethren who are in all Macedonia. But we urge you, brethren, to excel still more, and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life and attend to your own business and work with your hands, just as we commanded you; so that you may behave properly toward outsiders and not be in any need.” 1 Thessalonians 4:9-12. Now this is interesting because what we read in this verse is exactly what He calls for the ‘busybodies’ to do, except in the second letter he makes this statement to those who refuse to work, whereas here it is meant for those who work to assist others. In other words, take care of your own needs while you assist others where they need help.
Now to our focus verse. “But as for you, brethren, do not grow weary of doing good.” 2 Thessalonians 3:13. Here, Paul turns his focus from those who had grieved him in the church to speak to the rest of the brothers and sisters in Christ. He is telling them not to be discouraged in doing what is right and good. The command not to be discouraged does not mean simply that they should not become weary with doing what is right but rather that they should not give up or abandon their efforts. Paul said a very similar thing to the Church in Galatia. “And let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we shall reap if we do not grow weary. So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all men, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith.” Galatians 6:9-10. Although the apostle had absolved the patrons of their responsibility to those who did not want to work, this in no way implied that they should quit doing what was correct on behalf of those in genuine need. Just because there were some who did not participate, there were still many who needed their help, and thus they should continue to meet their needs.
It Is important to understand that because we are called to be Christians through the death, burial and resurrection of Christ, our calling does not end there. For He has called us all to do His work in this world. Becoming a believer and Christian is simply the beginning. Paul, in his letter to the Church in Colossae wrote, “Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men; knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve. For he who does wrong will receive the consequences of the wrong which he has done, and that without partiality.” Colossians 3:23-25.
William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.