2 Thessalonians 3:6-15 – “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. 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.
10 For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat. 11 For we hear that there are some who walk among you in a disorderly manner, not working at all, but are busybodies. 12 Now those who are such we command and exhort through our Lord Jesus Christ that they work in quietness and eat their own bread.
13 But as for you, brethren, do not grow weary in doing good. 14 And if anyone does not obey our word in this epistle, note that person and do not keep company with him, that he may be ashamed. 15 Yet do not count him as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother.” NKJV
Let me say first – I am totally in favor of helping the truly needy! However, let me continue to say that the “Entitlement Mentality” exhibited by much of the world and more particularly America today runs completely contrary to the teachings of Scripture as is evidenced in this passage.
Church discipline is almost non-existent today because we have little real concept of the Kingdom and the governing ministries and functions that God has established in the Church. The apostle is emphatic that the church withdraw fellowship from every “brother” – – (a professing believer) who walks disorderly and contrary to how the apostles and Christ had taught them. He stresses that in order to emphasize the importance of industry rather than idleness and laziness he and his companions labored rather than depended on the offerings of the Church for their sustenance. They did so as examples. Would to God that men and women of God, in leadership today would take this to heart on a deeper level than is frequently exhibited for it is a shame for a man or woman of God to become an example of “Entitlement” rather than “Industry.”
Paul, speaking to the church where all “welfare” or Christian charity came from addressed this issue and declared what our government and many in the church seem to miss – There is always work that can be done! He is speaking to that issue and said plainly that if anyone would not work they should not be given food. Busybodies, talebearers, idleness should not something be favored but should experience the sting of being outside the camp in order to bring them to their senses and even to repentance so that they can be restored.
In order that no one miss his true message he followed that piece of instruction with a charge in verses 13-15 that identifies that the motivation is to always be charitable, willing to help and do good, but maintain discipline not for punitive purposes but for restoration purposes. I am convinced that if they church could somehow come to the place that it accepted the Apostles Doctrine and followed the guidelines of Scripture in this and other areas we would see the government booted out of the welfare business in a significant measure. We would find that more and more people would follow the directive of Scripture and enjoying the fruit of their labors in the Lord.
When we shift our dependence upon man from God we become subservient to man and thereby shut off many of the blessings of the Lord. “Seek first the Kingdom of God and His Righteousness and ALL THESE THINGS shall be added to you,” is more than a nice catchy phrase it is a principle of life. Churches, pastors, believers let’s consider getting in order so that we can have the fullness of God’s provision, protection, power, and potential.
May the Lord bless you as you go through your day!