The Apostle Paul wrote his first letter to the church at Thessalonica pretty early in his ministry. This church had been founded about 49 AD by Paul and Silas. The theme of that first letter was that Christ, the Messiah, is coming back again, thus we ought to be ready. First Thessalonians will help us to get our priorities right. Second Thessalonians, Paul’s second letter to the church at Thessalonica, was made necessary because of the great effectiveness of the first letter. The Thessalonians had become so convinced, nay preoccupied with the Second Coming of Christ, that they were certain that it was imminent. It even appears that some members of the church claimed to have some revelation from God that this was so. It also seems that some were claiming that Paul had already sent a second letter claiming that the Second Coming was indeed quickly coming. Thus some in the church were neglecting their daily work. Paul decided that he must write a second letter to correct their thinking and adjust their behavior.
In chapter one, Paul thanks the Thessalonians, encourages them, and prays for them. In chapter two, Paul provides them with a more detailed explanation of the events which will precede the Second Coming and offers some encouragement. In chapter three, Paul exhorts them to wait patiently for the Second Coming, while staying away from the disorderly, unruly people who would encourage them to behave irresponsibly rather than taking care of their daily business.
Second Thessalonians is absolutely significant and relevant to Christians of the 21st century. Obviously we are closer to the Second Coming today than the first century Christians were. Thus, we may have an even greater tendency to stop or slow or daily tasks of supporting ourselves. Many students of Scripture would prefer to pore over Paul’s detailed account of the events leading up to the “Day of the Lord” and I know that there is a time and a place for that, but I am much more interested in how Second Thessalonians should impact my daily life and yours.
Paul gave them many nuggets of truth that should make a difference in our daily lives. 2 Thessalonians 3:10-13 says, “For even when we were with you, we used to give you this order: if anyone is not willing to work, then he is not to eat, either. For we hear that some among you are leading an undisciplined life, doing no work at all, but acting like busybodies. Now such persons we command and exhort in the Lord Jesus Christ to work in quiet fashion and eat their own bread. But as for you, brethren, do not grow weary of doing good.”NASU Paul commanded that we live a disciplined life and stay away from those who are undisciplined. Paul made it plain that we ought to work diligently for the necessities of life. He even declared with great plainness that a person, who will not work, must not eat. Following that plain and good advice would have a huge impact on my neighborhood. What about your neighborhood?
Paul even got more to the point in condemning “busybodies”. I did a quick study of the Greek word which we have translated as “busybody”. It does indeed mean people who mind other people’s business, but it also means someone who spends their day doing useless things. I wonder what God would consider “useless”. Surely this would be an interesting exercise, to start every morning asking God what He would consider a useful task for us that day, especially in light of the fact that Jesus is coming back, even if we don’t know exactly when. Don’t be a busybody; rather, be found walking with God, living for His pleasure.