By Michael Smith

A Reading from 2 Thessalonians 3:6-18

6 Now we command you, beloved, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, to keep away from believers who are living in idleness and not according to the tradition that they received from us. 7For you yourselves know how you ought to imitate us; we were not idle when we were with you, 8and we did not eat anyone’s bread without paying for it; but with toil and labor we worked night and day, so that we might not burden any of you. 9This was not because we do not have that right, but in order to give you an example to imitate. 10For even when we were with you, we gave you this command: Anyone unwilling to work should not eat. 11For we hear that some of you are living in idleness, mere busybodies, not doing any work. 12Now such persons we command and exhort in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work quietly and to earn their own living. 13Brothers and sisters, do not be weary in doing what is right.

14 Take note of those who do not obey what we say in this letter; have nothing to do with them, so that they may be ashamed. 15Do not regard them as enemies, but warn them as believers.

16 Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in all ways. The Lord be with all of you.

17 I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand. This is the mark in every letter of mine; it is the way I write. 18The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with all of you.

Meditation

I enjoy social media as much as the next person, but there are times when reading people’s posts, I say to myself, “Wow, he has way too much time on his hands” or “She needs to find something more constructive to do.” Paul writes what I am only thinking in today’s epistle reading: “For we hear that some of you are living in idleness, mere busybodies, not doing any work.” I think it important to note that Paul is not writing here about those who cannot work, but those who will not work.

We Christians are members of communities and everyone is called upon to pull their own weight in support of the common good. We have all heard the statistic that in volunteer organizations 20 percent of the participants do 80 percent of the work, and vice versa. More is expected of us as we await the Advent of the Lord Jesus. Are we part of the solution or part of the problem? Let us “not be weary in doing what is right.” Come, Lord Jesus!

Michael G. Smith served as bishop of North Dakota for fifteen years and is currently the Assistant Bishop of Dallas. He works with the Navajoland Iona Collaborative and is a Benedictine Oblate and an enrolled member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation.

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Daily Devotional Cycle of Prayer

Today we pray for:

Diocese of Port Sudan and the Rt. Rev. Abdu Elnur Kodi
Diocese of Colombo (Ceylon) and the Rt. Rev. Dhiloraj Ranjit Canagasabey
Diocese of Kondoa (Tanzania) and the Rt. Rev. Given Gaula
Diocese of Western Louisiana and the Rt. Rev. Jacob Owensby