Imagine that you are a teacher. You and your fellow teachers learn that your school is going to be recognized as the best school in the nation. The president is going to come to your school. All of the TV stations will be there, there will be a parade and everyone will show up to applaud and cheer. But, no one knows the exact date when the announcement is going to come.
Well, of course, you immediately bring your lawn chair, stop teaching and camp out in front of the school to get the very best seat for the show, right?
Of course not. But that is what some of the Thessalonians were doing. They heard Christ was going to come back and call all of His people to a very big party in the sky. So, they decided to stop everything and camp out to get a good seat for the show.
In Paul’s first letter we heard him tell them to keep their focus on this reunion with Jesus. But this week, while he is thrilled that they continue to grow in their faith, he is concerned they are spending too much time in the lawn chairs and not enough time doing the work of spreading the gospel. But let’s get into what he writes:
1st Division: 2 Thes 1
Christ’s return constitutes a huge family reunion. I don’t know if you’ve ever been on some cool rides at an amusement park, but I don’t think anything is going to compare to getting to surf on a cloud in the biggest party in the sky you ever imagined.
But this is a family reunion and only family members are welcome. While everyone was invited, only those who chose get to come. The rest – well – let’s say there is a big difference between clouds and smoke!
Who do you want to make sure is at the party?
Have you sent them a personal invitation by sharing the good news about Jesus with them?
Who do you need to pray for so they will decide to be part of the family of believers?
2nd Division: 2 Thes 2
Have you ever heard the term “sitting on the fence”? It is not all that different than “keeping your options open.” God isn’t so big on this. He is offering the greatest gift anyone can imagine – He is offering to make us a brother to His only son: Jesus! But some people go, “well, let me think about it – maybe I’ll see if there is anything better.”
Well, in the final days, God gets sick and tired of the fence sitting – he is going to make it so everyone chooses, one side or the other. Period, end.
How close are you living to the fence?
Is every part of your life on the right side of the fence?
3rd Division: 2 Thes 3
God did not make us to sit around – he made us to do work. We are blobs of jello. We have muscles and strength. We have thoughts and words. We had drive and initiative. We are made to work.
Now, Paul is clear – we need to work. That does not mean is against helping people in need. And he clearly distinguishes between those who can vs those who will. Someone who is unable to work has Paul’s full support and healing ministry. Those who choose not to work, get a strict admonishen to do the work God called them to do.
Paul is not simply talking about working with our hands, but being engaged in work with others as the best place to demonstrate God’s message. It is through mutual labor that we earn the ability to share a deeper work – the work of saving lost souls.
Did you put in a full day’s work today for God?
How would your performance evaluation go if it was time for your annual review?
God makes it so easy, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t have a part. He calls people. He sends us to them. He gives us the words to say. He sanctifies them with the Holy Spirit. He strengthens and encourages us and protects us from the evil one.
Truly, we are nothing but the messenger service – but would you rather hear, “Good job” or “I’m disappointed in you”?