Google+ 06/12/13 Don't Ride Your Brakes!

2 Thessalonians 3:5-7

May the Lord lead your hearts into a full understanding and expression of the love of God

And the patient endurance that comes from Christ. 

And now, dear brothers and sisters, we give you this command in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ:

Stay away from all believers who live idle lives and don’t follow the tradition they received from us.

For you know that you ought to imitate us. We were not idle when we were with you.

 

Paul taught us many lessons in the thirteen Epistles he wrote in the New Testament.  None of these lessons is more important than the one he discusses in today's Scripture lesson.  Paul planted numerous churches in his four missionary visits.  Paul also spent a great deal of time in prison because of his preaching in the name of Jesus.  Rather than complaining about these injustices, he spent the time writing to the churches he had planted and the young men he was mentoring, reminding them to stay the course in preaching the message of Jesus Christ.  Like modern-day Christians, the churches that Paul planted found themselves in the middle of their worlds, being wrongly influenced by false prophets.  Today Paul discusses a subject that I preach about often.  It is not a popular subject and I, like Paul, receive a great deal of ridicule about the subject of not being idle for God.  God sent His Son Jesus Christ to earth to live among us.  Jesus was fully human and fully divine.  He worked long hours and He never quit.  Jesus stood for the principles that God wanted to share with His people.  He never wavered.  Today, Paul is telling the Thessalonians to stay away from idle people.  Yes, that is exactly what Paul says.  The famous line from the musical "The Music Man" comes to mind, as Harold Hill tells the entire town of River City that "Idle hands are the devil's playground!"  Jesus, Paul, and Harold weren't kidding.  Remember what happened to Eve as she sat around listening to the serpent?  None of us are immune from the effects of the devil.  All of us will eventually give in to Satan's ways if we fall into idleness.  That is why God has an aggressive business plan for our lives.  Remember Matthew 28?  If we are to go into "all the world" and baptize, teach and disciple, we need to be busy all the time.  The world is a big place!  As I get older, it is interesting what irritates me the most.  It is never what irritates the world.  I am never upset by people who appear to not have all the knowledge or talent they need to complete God's work.  It does not bother me that different people have different, effective ways of dealing with the same subject.  What bothers me is the time-wasters, the procrastinators, and the people who live their lives in "neutral."  That is not what God called us to do.  So today, you must not only work hard and not be idle, you must keep your distance from those that waste God's precious time.  Put your vehicle in "drive," using the Holy Spirit as your "GPS."  Press down on the narrow peddle on your right and keep going.  When people look at us and our body of work for God, they should not see a steady red light.  Remember that "riding our brakes" doesn't do anything but wear them out!