NOVEMBER 7 - Nº 311 2 Thessalonians 1 – 3
A few months after he sent his first letter to the Thessalonians, Paul received an update from the church he loved and cared for. Some of the news was good. The believers remained faithful to Christ even though they faced harsh persecution. And even during this difficult time, they continued to grow in their love for the Lord and for each other. So, Paul began his letter by commending these new believers for their growth. He told them how much he and Silas and Timothy prayed and thanked God for them. Then he comforted and encouraged them to stay strong in their faith. He explained that God would punish the people who were oppressing them. These religious bullies would suffer for eternity, and God would reward the believers for their faithfulness. One day they would enjoy eternal rest and relief—but not yet! There was also some news in the report that upset Paul. Evidently some of the people in the church were circulating lies, and they claimed that they had gotten their information from Paul. They insisted that Jesus had already returned to the earth to set up his kingdom. This idea was causing great confusion. Some of the believers had quit their jobs and were just sitting around waiting for Jesus to overthrow their persecutors and establish his kingdom of peace. “This rumor is not true,” Paul said. He explained that several things had to take place before Jesus returned to set up his kingdom. First, a wicked, lawless man had to come into power. This false ruler would exalt himself and organize the world in opposition to God. He would set himself up in a temple where God was supposed to be worshiped and declare that he was God. When this took place, Jesus would return in magnificent splendor to destroy him. “When Jesus comes back,” Paul wrote, “believers will share in his glory. So, stand firm and don’t be fooled by any teaching that does not come from us.” Then Paul warned them, “Don’t abandon the truths we personally taught you or explained to you in our letters.” Paul listed several things the believers should do while they waited for Jesus to return. The most important thing was to pray! “First of all, pray for us,” he said. “Pray that we can spread the Gospel to as many people as possible. Pray that wicked people will not interfere. And pray that God will keep the believers strong and faithful.” “Another thing you should do,” Paul instructed, “is stay away from believers who are lazy and disruptive—who don’t live by the truths we shared with you. Keep following our example,” he said. “We were hard workers. We didn’t sit around and eat other people’s food and become a financial burden. If someone doesn’t work, they should not get to eat! As a matter of fact, take special notice of anyone who does not obey these instructions. Do not hang around with them. Let them feel ashamed. Don’t think of them as your enemies but love them enough to let them know that what they are doing does not please God. As for you,” he added, “don’t get tired of doing what is good!”
From the very beginning of time, God assigned Adam and Eve the privilege of working in the beautiful garden He had created. Hard work has always been a reflection of our gratitude to God. Are you a hard worker? Do you do your best at everything God has given you the ability to do? Do you have an “eternal” perspective on work?