“And as for you, brothers, never tire of doing what is right.” (2 Thessalonians 3:13)
If we are faithful to live the kind of life Christ has called us to live, there will be days when we feel tired and weary. There will be seasons in our ministries when we will have given it our best, yet see little fruit. There will be occasions when we will have done our part, yet still need to go another mile. It will seem at times that our tasks will never end and we may be able to pause only long enough to catch our breath. Yet we must never stop doing what is right.
As Paul was writing this word of encouragement to the Thessalonians, there were those within the church who were lazy.
2 Thessalonians 3:11 We hear that some among you are idle and disruptive. 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 food they eat. 13 And as for you, brothers and sisters, never tire of doing what is good.
Paul said that they were ‘busybodies’ in other men’s affairs, rather than being busy about the Lord’s work. Apparently these individuals had enough time to keep up with all the gossip, yet not enough time to serve.
In his first letter to this church, Paul had warned such people to seek to ‘be quiet, mind their own business and work with their own hands’, (1 Thessalonians 4:11). Apparently only a few of them had followed Paul’s advice, and now in his second letter Paul is telling the rest of the church to disassociate themselves from such people until there was a change.
2 Thessalonians 3:14 Take special note of anyone who does not obey our instruction in this letter. Do not associate with them, in order that they may feel ashamed. 15 Yet do not regard them as an enemy, but warn them as you would a fellow believer.
Paul was not saying, ‘put them out of the church’, but rather, avoid them as much as possible. Why did Paul give this instruction? Perhaps one reason was to cause the busybodies to see their error and change. Perhaps another reason was help keep the active people from getting distracted and discouraged.
It has often been said that 80% of the work gets done by 20% of the people. Perhaps that ratio varies from organization to organization, but without a doubt in all business and churches there are those who get it done and those who watch it get done. As faithful followers of Christ we should always strive to be a part of the group that gets it done. The Bible says that there is coming a day when the Lord will reward every man according to his labor. (1 Corinthians 3:8)