Wednesday, 25 October 2017
But as for you, brethren, do not grow weary in doing good. 2 Thessalonians 3:13
Here we have a subtle jab at those referenced in the previous two verses. Paul has said that he who “will not work, neither shall he eat.” He then built upon that, pointing out these sluggards and what they should do in verse 12. Now, he gives a contrast to them with the words, “But as for you, brethren.”
In other words, he is making a distinction between the two. He has cumulatively called all (both hard worker and sluggard) “brethren” quite a few times already, but he has told those who are diligent and industrious to “withdraw from every brother who walks disorderly and not according to the tradition which he received from us” (verse 6).
He acknowledges that they are brothers, but now in this verse he gives them a poke by using the term “brethren” as applying to those who aren’t like them. There are brothers, and then there are brothers! The intent here is to convict those who are sitting around watching crazy YouTube rapture videos all day, and who then pass on this false information to the church, to stop doing this, to get to work, to be examples of Christ, and to be obedient to His will.
After this direct and convicting opening, he then tells the “brethren” that they are to “not grow weary in doing good.” The word translated as “weary” is used once by Luke and five times by Paul. It gives the sense of fainting. Paul is exhorting the brethren to not allow anything to interfere with doing good, even exhaustion itself. The word translated as “doing good” is used just this once in the Bible. It comes from two Greek words which together give the sense of “doing good that inspires others to rise up and do what is noble” (HELPS Word Studies).
This exhortation is tied back to the “patience of Christ” of verse 5. Just as Christ continued in His ministry, never faltering in His work, so we are to likewise act. And, we are to do so by inspiring others in the process. The contrast between the sluggardly rapture/Day of the Lord date-setters and those who are acting properly is crystal clear. While they are doing nothing of value, wasting time, and harming the walk of others, those who are obedient to the word are productively working, making the best use of the time they are allotted, and their work is inspiring others on to their noble work as well.
Life application: Are you a rapture date-setting sluggard, or are you a person interested in the whole counsel of God, and in sharing your interest in the word with others? Paul has set a distinction between the two. If you are the former, he tells the rest to withdraw from you. If you are the latter, he tells others to emulate you. Which behavior will receive commendation from the Lord on that Day? Hmmm… I wonder which.
Lord God, our main hope and goal in this life, and in everything we do, should be to receive commendation from You on the Day we stand before You. What a waste to think that You would save us through the agonizing cross of Calvary, and then after accepting what You have done, fritter our time away doing nothing productive in return! Help us to think this through clearly. This life is a breath and then it will be gone. We should endeavor to use it to Your glory right up until the end. Amen.