2 Thessalonians 3; Isaiah 29-30; Psalm 119:1-32
There are some people who seem to do nothing but stir up trouble. They seek to find a weakness in others and exploit it. They are contrarian just for the sake of being contrarian. If everybody in the church works together to accomplish something, they are the ones standing on the side criticizing. At the same time, they are often the ones seeking help from the church. Paul had a command about those people. “But we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you withdraw from every brother who walks disorderly and not according to the tradition which he received from us.” (2 Thessalonians 3:6) Later Paul included a message that those who didn’t work shouldn’t eat. The church would find ways to feed their members who were poor, especially widows. Part of the disorderly nature of these types of people is that they began to drain the church not only spiritually by seeking to sap the strength of God’s work, but also materially by becoming dependent upon God’s people. God’s people tend to be sympathetic and forgiving. A disorderly brother can get by with his comments. He can get by while stirring up trouble. If anyone starts to rebuke him, he will find those willing to call out the one rebuking for being unforgiving and not understanding. Paul’s message, though is clear. If someone is disorderly; if someone is stirring up trouble in the church; if someone would seek to demand that others support them spiritually and physically, withdraw from them. Some people would do nothing but drag you down in life; get away from them. The flip side of this statement is that we should join with those who are working for God. We should join with those who are positively promoting God’s kingdom. We need to be building each other up. We need to be supporting each other. In short, we should “un-partner” with those who would sap our strength and we should join with those who would work together to build the kingdom.
Lord, as I read these words of Paul I realize how easy it is to become disorderly. I want to complain when things don’t go my way. I too easily engage in gossip. I too easily pick on the flaws of others. Give me the grace and strength to build those imperfect people up who would seek to follow You and then let them build this imperfect person up as I seek to be Your minister in this world.