The Problem with Idleness

2 Thessalonians 3:6-18

Intro In Matthew 22:37 as well as in Luke 10:27 Jesus declared the Christian life could be summarized into two commandments

"You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,' and 'your neighbor as yourself."

A) That in essence is the sum of the Christian life – It is to affect your whole person { Starts w/ Loving God

1) Question what does it mean to love God with all of my heart

2) How do I love God with my mind?

3) How do I love God with my soul?

4) How so I love God with my Strength

B) Well inevitably – such a discussion is going to lead you to considering how do, I love God in my work

1) Is it with all of my heart, soul, mind, and strength?

In a recent survey of workers across the USA, nearly 85% said that they could work harder on the job.

And More than half claimed they could double their effectiveness "if (they) wanted to."

C) Well Work is the subject that Paul closes his 2nd letter to the Thessalonians on!

Read v.6-15

V.6 But we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,

A) The word command that Paul used here speaks of "a military order passed down from a superior officer."

B) Idea being this is a strong exhortation

But we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you withdraw from every brother who walks disorderly and not according to the tradition which he received from us.

C) Now Paul is going to define what He means by being disorderly in v.10-11

[Continue to read picking up in v.7 – v. 15]


Now it seems that Paul had taught these believers to keep busy in light of the Lord’s coming:

A) Problem: there were those who were loafing { this is what he means by Disorderly

B) Apparently, their attitude was " Hey the Lord is coming we don’t need to waste time working -

1) The result was they were mooching off others

C) So Paul closes out this letter by devoting a lengthy section to correcting this wrong mindset


Some think it is strange that Paul would spend so much time on this subject –

A) The Bible is not a book that is meant to put our head in the clouds –

B) It is a Book that is meant to help us walk rightly with our feet on the ground

C) It gets down to the nitty gritty aspects of life – It deals with life in the real world –

1) Home / Church / at play / in the work place

2) And being productive is important to the Lord

Ephesians 2:10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.


In light of that there are 6 things I want to consider today about this subject as we go thru this passage

1) What does the Bible say about Work?

2) Paul’s example as a worker

3) The Problem with Idleness

4) The Purpose of the correction

5) A word to those who were faithful in working

6) A word to the workaholic


#1 What does the Bible say about work?

1 Timothy 5:8 But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

Here v.10 "will not work [ Not cannot work] If he will not work – he shouldn’t eat"

A) Often times we think of work as part of the Curse

B) But it is Important that we understand that God had ordained labor to be a part of man’s life before sin entered the scene.

C) God gave Adam the job of tending and guarding the Garden (Gen. 2:15).

1) Though sin turned labor into toil - it must never be thought that the necessity for work is a result of sin.

One time a preacher was preaching about the importance of work.

A) He told the congregation that they should praise God for the opportunity of working for their daily bread.

B) "But the Lord has seen to it," he said, "that you don’t have to work every day.

1) Because of Moses you have Saturday off, and thanks to Jesus you have Sunday off. Isn’t that wonderful

C) "Sure is," said a voice from a rear pew. He said, "FIVE MORE JEWISH BOYS LIKE THAT AND WE’D NEVER HAVE TO WORK AGAIN."

Exodus 20:9 "Six days you shall labor and do all your work."

"God commanded us in Scripture to work, but nowhere in Scripture did He command us to play. When a society wants to play more than work, something is wrong with us."

Why is it important to God that we work?
A) One reason why God wants us to work is because He is a worker!

Genesis 1:1
"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth."

Genesis 2:2 "By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing..."

Psalm 19:1 "The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands." NIV

John 5:17
Jesus said, "My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I, too, am working."

B) God worked when He created the heavens and the earth, but He didn’t stop there!

1) He has been working throughout all of history!

C) He is still at work even though we may not be aware of some of His work.
A) God is our Heavenly Father and He wants us to learn to imitate Him in life because He does everything right!

B) Another reason is that he knows what is best for us

Proverbs 10:4-5 "Lazy hands make a man poor, but diligent hands bring wealth. He who gathers crops in summer is a wise son, but he who sleeps during harvest is a disgraceful son."

C) Wealth = creates good habits –

1) Good discipline

D) So Man needs work for the fulfillment of his own person. God created him to work- be like Himself

The Romans said, "By doing nothing, men learn to do evil."

The Jewish rabbis taught, "He who does not teach his son a trade, teaches him to be a thief."

" Idle hands and an idle mind make for the Devils workshop."


"The man who rolls up his sleeves seldom loses his shirt."

The hen is the only one who can lay around all day and still be a producer"

#2 Paul’s example as a Worker


Florida State Sen. Mandy Dawson wanted to join fellow legislators on a trip to Africa.

The others paid their own ways, but Dawson ordered an aide to solicit donations for the trip from lobbyists. When her aide told her that was against the law, she ordered the aide to do it anyway. Dawson was previously in trouble for altering a prescription to get extra painkillers, but avoided prison by going to
drug rehab.

This time, for soliciting and accepting cash, she was
  reprimanded in public by the Senate -- and kicked off the Senate ethics committee. "I hope you will accept my humble and sincere apology if my actions have in any way compromised the integrity of this body," she
  said. If"?

Paul set an example to be followed

.7 For you yourselves know how you ought to follow us, for we were not disorderly among you; 8 nor did we eat anyone's bread free of charge, but worked with labor and toil night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, 9 not because we do not have authority, but to make ourselves an example of how you should follow us.



Jesus declared in Luke 10:7 that a Laborer is worthy of his wages

A) Paul had the right to expect financial support; but he deliberately gave up this right that he might be an example to the young believers

B) In this attitude, Paul proved himself to be a mature Christian leader.

1) Selfish leaders use people to build up their support, and they are always claiming their rights.

C) A truly dedicated leader will use his rights to build up the people, and will lay aside his rights and privileges for the sake of others.

D) Paul’s work ethic carried weight that allowed for his message to be better received

Swindoll said,
"show me a lazy, irritating Christian on the job, & I will show you an office, store, customer, or shop, that isn’t interested in his message!"

Believers the surveillance camera of the watching world is on us

A) "Don’t look at work as "I owe, I owe, so off to work you go!"

B) Remember they are your Monday Morning pulpits!

1) "Remember we all have the same employer just different tasks!"

V.8b Don’t just work – but work hard – toil = to work energetically

Back in June of 1999, Eddie Stankey died at the age of 83. Time Magazine carried his obituary. It seems that in his day, Stankey (nicknamed "the brat") had been a "hard working " pennant-winning 2nd basemen for such championship teams as the Brooklyn Dodgers, the Boston Braves and the New York Giants.

The general manager of the Dodgers, Branch Rickey, once commented:
"He can’t run, he can’t hit and he can’t throw, but if there’s a way to beat the other team, he’ll find it."

Stankey’s motivation was winning games – our motivations needs to be winning souls and glorifying God

Colossians 3:23-24 "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward."


That was Paul’s motivation !!!!



#3 The Problem with Idleness

A) Those who weren’t working became Busybodies

B) Play on words – they were not bodies in motion – people that were busy working

1) But because they were idol they were meddling in everyone else’s business

C) Some years ago, many hives of bees were brought from a cold climate to the tropical island of Barbados.

1) Right away the bees went to work, gathering honey for the winter which their instinct taught them to expect.

D) The winter didn’t come, however, and the bees became lazy. They stopped working.

1) They stopped gathering honey. Instead, they spent their time flying around and stinging people.

E) When people don’t work, they sting other people. They get into trouble. They get into all kinds of trouble.


"I once read an article about the shuttle Discovery. The article explained that its repaired fuel tank would be escorted to the launch pad by a six-eyed scarecrow. The scarecrow was intended to scare the woodpeckers that drilled 195 holes in the shuttle last month.

The launch was delayed for two months due to the danger of ice forming in the holes and damaging the shuttle during liftoff.

The billion-dollar technological peak of man’s abilities was grounded by two little woodpeckers.

So, too, it only takes a couple busybodies poking where they ought not to damage the work of God."

Prov 15:19

The way of the lazy man is like a hedge of thorns,

But the way of the upright is a highway.


The person who rows the boat usually doesn't have time to rock it.

Proverbs. 14:23 "All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty

The Disorderly needed to get to work or to get out !

#4 The Purpose of the Correction RD V.6. v.14-15

A) The purpose is withdrawing from these Disorderly is not so much punishment, or abandonment

1) Paul said – he is still a Brother

B) No the Purpose of the withdrawal, was to simply deny the Disorderly the aid and comfort of the fellowship of the body of Christ until they repent. { Make them work

C) Quit mooching – quit getting hand outs

1) Motive restoration – Quit helping them if they can work – then they need to work

This is hard to accomplish in our modern day Culture/ so many Churches– they move on to the next Church

A) Paul’s heart was hopefully these guys if they are put out/ will miss the fellowship and want to return


#5 A word to those who were faithful in working

13 But as for you, brethren, do not grow weary in doing good.

A) Rightly, Paul adds an encouragement to those who are working, do not grow weary in doing good.

B) Few things are more wearying than seeing others take advantage of Christian generosity. { Lani

1) I will never do that again!

C) Can’t say that if we are going to continue to strive to be like Jesus

1) Jesus gave and made himself Vulnerable to people all the time – who never said thanks – 10 Lepers

2) Where are the other nine!

D) And Jesus gave and made himself Vulnerable to people all the time – who turned on him

1) Hosanna……. Crucify –

E) Comes with the territory – So don’t grow weary in doing good! – Makes you like Jesus

Moody " I may get weary in the work, but not weary of the work."

D) That should be our hearts as well especially when we are serving the Lord

Why? Hebrews 6:10

10 For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister

Matthew 10:42 – Cup of water in my name …….

#6 A word to the workaholic

A) My problem is not that I am not working – my problem is I am working all the time.

B) And When I am not working Physically – I am working mentally – I always bring my work home

C) If I had you rate yourself: {1 being lazy, 10 being workaholic, 5 being a perfect balance}

1) which side of 5 would you be on?

D) Now, where would your spouse put you? Your kids?

A first grader became curious because her father brought home a briefcase full of papers every evening.

Her mother explained, "Daddy has so much to do that he can’t finish it all at the office. That’s why he has to bring work home at night."

"Well then," asked the child innocently, "why don’t they put him in a slower group?"

What can you change to correct it?

A) Daniel Principle – put it to the test!

B) Instead of covering you at home – ask God to cover you at work

Realize the Importance of Rest – spiritual renewal

One man challenged another to an all-day wood chopping contest. The challenger worked very hard, stopping only for a brief lunch break.

The other man had a leisurely lunch and took several breaks during the day.

At the end of the day, the challenger was surprised and annoyed to find that the other fellow had chopped substantially more wood than he had.

"I don’t get it," he said. "Every time I checked, you were taking a rest, yet you chopped more wood than I did."

"But you didn’t notice," said the winning woodsman, "that I was sharpening my ax when I sat down to rest."

A certain amount of rest is needed for everyone.

It sharpens the ax.

It freshens the mind and body. It recharges the battery. It fuels the flame. It energizes the spirit.

Wrap up Rd V.16-18

The Lord of peace give you peace

A) The Peace that Jesus gives is different from the Peace of the World

John14:27 "Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid."

The worlds peace is conditioned upon "if" your healthy; "if" you have $ in the bank; then you can say, "I am at peace."

Or it is a peace that comes with understanding

I understand the Diagnosis

The Lord of Peace offers a peace that surpasses understanding – a peace. "In-the-midst-of" sickness, financial problems, stress, relational struggles, etc. Peace that surpasses understanding



John White explains it "like a light house in a storm":

"Winds shriek, waves crash, lightening flickers around it. But inside, the children play while their parents go about their work. They may look out the window to marvel at the powers that rage around them, but they have peace – the peace of knowing that the strength which protects them is stronger than the strength of the storm."