By Amanda Farbstein
October 15, 2020
Passages of the day: Click HERE to read today’s passages.
2 Thessalonians 3:1-18
The tone of 2 Thessalonians shifts abruptly in chapter 3 when Paul warns against idleness and disorderliness. New Testament scholars Tom Wright and Michael Bird teach in The New Testament in Its World that this problem of idleness arose because of a mistaken expectation that Jesus’ return was imminent, but also because the church was learning what it was like to live as a “family.” Never before had such a different group of people attempted doing life together in such an intimate manner.
Paul isn’t arguing against idleness because we need to keep in check with a moral code, but because doing real work is necessary for a Christ shaped (self-giving) community to thrive (and survive!).
When we consider our moral behavior, do we consider it in the context of our relationships? How it will hurt or help our family? Or do we think of it as a test to pass for its own sake? Are we coloring in circles on a scantron to make the grade or persevering in doing what is right in order to love one another?
But just when the pressure of Paul's commands might be heating up, he seems to make a 180: “Now may the Lord of peace give you peace always in every way.” Amidst our struggle to grow up into the image of Christ and live as his family, there is abundant peace. Always. In every way. Jesus seems to have a knack for surprise and paradox.
Now may the Lord of peace give you peace always in every way.
— 2 Thessalonians 3:16
Prayer to start with: Dear Lord, reveal to us individually and corporately where we need to endure in doing what is right for the good of the other. And reveal to us areas in which we haven’t even begun doing what is right! Convict us in your kindness and gentleness and give us the courage, grace, and love to speak into each other's lives when we’re out of step. Fill us with peace.