I wonder if the Thessalonians were getting tired.
- Tired of the persecution.
- Tired of the waiting.
- Tired of the uncertainty
We aren’t facing persecution, but I think all of us are getting tired of being “Safer-at-Home.” Tired of the waiting. Tired of the uncertainty.
Our reading for today, 2 Thessalonians 2:13-3:18 is below. I’ve highlighted some phrases that refreshed me and added some notes in brackets. At the end of the reading, there are resources to help you deal with the Safer-at-Home tensions.
2 Thessalonians 2:13-3:18 Stand Firm
13 But we ought always to thank God for you, brothers and sisters loved by the Lord, because God chose you as firstfruits to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth. 14 He called you to this through our gospel, that you might share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. [All three persons of the Trinity are mentioned, working together to bring each of us to glory.]
15 So then, brothers and sisters, stand firm and hold fast to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter. 16 May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, 17 encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word. [My prayer for each of you.]
3 As for other matters, brothers and sisters, pray for us that the message of the Lord may spread rapidly and be honored, just as it was with you. 2 And pray that we may be delivered from wicked and evil people, for not everyone has faith. [How comforting to know that others are joining with me in my struggles by praying for me.] 3 But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one. 4 We have confidence in the Lord that you are doing and will continue to do the things we command. 5 May the Lord direct your hearts into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance. [Jesus persevered! He did not give up on me! He will not give up on me! By God’s grace I will not give up on him!]
6 In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we command you, brothers and sisters, to keep away from every believer who is idle and disruptive and does not live according to the teaching you received from us. 7 For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example. We were not idle when we were with you, 8 nor did we eat anyone’s food without paying for it. On the contrary, we worked night and day, laboring and toiling so that we would not be a burden to any of you. 9 We did this, not because we do not have the right to such help, but in order to offer ourselves as a model for you to imitate. 10 For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.”
11 We hear that some among you are idle and disruptive. They are not busy; they are busybodies. [My soul, take warning. The devil will use our enforced “idleness” to make us busybodies, standing in judgment on others.] 12 Such people we command and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and earn the food they eat. 13 And as for you, brothers and sisters, never tire of doing what is good.
14 Take special note of anyone who does not obey our instruction in this letter. Do not associate with them, in order that they may feel ashamed. 15 Yet do not regard them as an enemy, but warn them as you would a fellow believer.
16 Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you.
17 I, Paul, write this greeting in my own hand, which is the distinguishing mark in all my letters. This is how I write. [Recall that in 2 Thessalonians 2:2 that they had received a fraudulent letter. Paul probably had someone else writing what he dictated. See Romans 16:22. But here at the end of this letter, the first readers could recognize Paul’s own handwriting. See also 1 Corinthians 16:21; Galatians 6:11; Colossians 4:18.]
18 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.
Old Testament Reading: Judges 21 (click here to read)
Finally we finish this sad ending of the book of Judges. What a warning to us that we can quickly lose our faith and in the process, our understanding of God’s will can become twisted. All the more reason to cling to this promise: The Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one (2 Thessalonians 3:3).
Resources to Help You Cope!
Here are some resources to help you cope with the stress that “Safer-at-Home” brings.
- For couples: Use this link to make use of the Marriage Lab resource that we have purchased for our congregation. Pastor Randy Hunter has conducted many marriage retreats. This brings the retreat to your own home. Username: SPMUSKEGO1234 Password: Muskego_2020
- Christian Family Solutions, formerly known as Wisconsin Lutheran Child and Family Service, offers a variety of counseling servicesvirtually and face-to-face. CFS approaches counseling from a biblical perspective. Check out their website atchristianfamilysolutions.org.
- Our Wisconsin Synod offers daily devotions for teens and for families with questions geared toward children of different ages (click here).
- The Child Mind Institute “is an independent, national nonprofit dedicated to transforming the lives of children and families struggling with mental health and learning disorders." Their website is childmind.org. This is a secular organization so you will not find a Christian perspective in its material; however, any number of practical articles and suggestions are available such as “Supporting Teenagers and Young Adults During the Coronavirus Crisis.”
- Virtual Calming Room will offer you a wide variety of videos and music that are designed to inspire serenity — at least for a while. Some of these offerings might make for soothing background during study time. Click here for their website.