Paul's closing challenge to the Thessalonians is worthy of notice: keep away from idle people. What was an idle person in Paul's day? It was someone who feasted off of the generosity of other people. These were individuals who took advantage of the benefits of the church (caring for people in need) without ever actually helping to support the church. These individuals were giving the church a bad name, and Paul's challenge was that the Thessalonians needed to lovingly send them packing until they straightened their priorities around. Lest you think this has no application, don't forget the about the mooch in your own life who always expects you to carry his or her weight. We've all been around such people who expect the wealthy to to enable them to continue in lifestyles of laziness. Such a lifestyle has no place in the church. Instead, the church has to be about helping people in need and enabling them to be self-sufficient in the long term. It's like the old saying: if you give a person fish, he will eat for a day; if you teach a person how to fish, he will eat for the rest of his life. Is there an idle person if your life who needs to gentle prodding to start acting responsibly? Don't delay in fixing the problem; we are to keep a distance from idle people.
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Seth is a pastor, author, and speaker who lives in Batesville, Indiana. He is married to Kari, and they have two daughters, Madelyn and Noelle.