Tuesday Re-mix –
In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we command you, brothers, to keep away from every brother who is idle and does not live according to the teachingyou received from us…We hear that some among you are idle. They are not busy; they are busybodies. II Thessalonians 3:6, 11
The last time my studies took me into Paul’s letters to the Thessalonians, it was Thanksgiving time a couple of years ago. I remember stopping and thinking about his counsel in those letters and how it might hit the contemporary American church. I found some things for which I was thankful then, and I am still thankful today. Today’s “Tuesday Re-mix” replays those Thanksgiving thoughts.
The American church is probably loaded to the brim with idle Christians. We are a fat, happy bunch of church-goers for whom convenience is among the highest of values. Prayer meeting on Wednesday night? Not very convenient. Sunday night worship service after a full day of church stuff? Not very convenient. Missing soccer games or band practice or sleeping in on Saturday in order to work at the homeless shelter? Not very convenient. Being the “consumers” we are, we just want our Spiritual lives to stay within the very small slice of our week which we have designated for that and, above all, we want God to stay convenient to us.
If Paul visited the American church today, I think he might just have a heart attack when he observed how low a priority our Spirituality has become in so many cases. Don’t get me wrong. There are many, many churches who are getting it right. But let us be honest here, it has been about a hundred or so years since genuine revival swept across our country or since the American church was even arguably the center of the Christian world. And even more unfortunate is the fact that much of the “busy-ness” in our churches today has more to do with conflict and power struggles than it does with genuine ministry. Paul recognized it…idleness eventually gives way to busybodies.
But even with all of that said, I am feeling grateful this week for churches like my own church, who are mobilizing their laity into ministry. My church may not be blazing trails in that arena, but we are genuinely trying to involve our people in ministry. I am grateful for a church whose members are hitting the streets and ministering to the homeless with both food and clothing ministries. I am grateful to a church who ministers to the emotionally broken through a support/recovery group ministry shaped, led and implemented entirely by laity. I am grateful for a ministerial staff who works tirelessly to equip and empower the members of its church toward meaningful ministry. I am grateful for a pastor who emphasizes the importance of unity and healthy relationships in the church and who trusts God’s people to eventually get it right, as flawed as we otherwise may be. I am grateful for a God whose expectations of us are immense, but whose forgiveness is even greater.
I am grateful for another day to seek His face, to do His will, and to be busy with opportunities to lean into the lives of other believers and to pour myself into the needs of others.
Those are some things we can all be grateful for. Right?