I love the term “walking in idleness.” The phrase sounds funny. If you are idle, you certainly are not walking. That requires action. This passage isn’t talking about physically walking though. This passage is focused on laziness. The Bible mentions laziness many times; each time laziness is mentioned in a negative light.
God has something for each of us to do in life. As part of one body, we each must move together in harmony, united as one for Christ. The focus is all about Jesus. The work is plentiful. Each of us a different deck of cards to bring to the table. If one or any of us are lazy, the body is not working properly. This doesn’t mean we cannot rest—this means our life isn’t complete rest.
This verse falls under the heading warning against irresponsibility. Laziness is certainly irresponsible. Think of the life God has given you—the time, talent, and treasures with which He blessed you. To not move is irresponsible. To not move, is to miss the opportunity to live for Jesus. To not move, is to allow life to pass you by without concern. Don’t be an idle walker. Walk with purpose. Walk in love. Walk for truth. Walk with Jesus.
“Now we command you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from any brother who is walking in idleness and not in accord with the tradition that you received from us.” – 2 Thessalonians 3:6 [ESV]
Vinegar is not good for your teeth. Because it is acidic, it can attack at the enamel of your teeth. Smoke in the eyes can distort your view. It can cause your eyes to burn and water. Today’s proverb compares these things to lazy people.
Vinegar damages the good part of the teeth. Smoke prevents good eye sight. Lazy people definitely irritate their employers. Lazy people damage the work moral of the entire group. Lazy people create tension among the other employees and management. Some of their work load may even fall upon the shoulders of others as a result of their laziness. Like smoke prevents the eyes from seeing perfectly, so do lazy people ruin any chances of the workplace running smoothly.
You might not think slacking at work is a big deal, but it does not only involve you. If you are paid to do something, you should be doing your part. Paul wrote that we were to do our best as if working for the Lord. No matter where we are working or what we are doing, we are to do everything for God’s glory. What image are you showing others when you are like vinegar to teeth?
“Lazy people irritate their employers, like vinegar to the teeth or smoke in the eyes.” – Proverbs 10:26
We can all be a little self-centered. We can all get lazy due to over-exhaustion. There are moments when we do not feel like doing something. Today’s passage tells us not to without good from someone who deserves it. If it is in our power to help a person who deserves something, we are not to withhold it. But is that always the case? Do we always provide good help to others? Are we always there for others?
When it is time to collect for a food drive, do we go out and buy things that we eat or do we get something that we would never consume? I’ve seen some disgusting things in the collection box. When we are donating clothing, do we donate clothing that is usable or things that should be tossed in the trash? There are moments in our lives when we are able to do so much more, when it is in our power to do so much, but we only give a little.
Today let us consider where we are withholding good. Where can we help more? Where can we do more? Do not withhold good from those who deserve it. It’s in your power to help them. It’s your choice.
“Do not withhold good from those who deserve it when it’s in your power to help them.” – Proverbs 3:27 [NLT]
When I reached back to the bag rack, I noticed that there was a bunch of crumbled bags that were placed inside the first bag on the rack. They must have fallen off the rack, come off with other bags, or posed a problem by being too difficult to open during bagging. As a result, rather than try to open each one and properly hang it on the rack, someone decided to just toss them all into another bag so they were out of sight and out of mind. That helped the person to deal with the situation, but the situation was not resolved. The bags still needed fixed and reattached.
Each bag had to be taken out of the bag, opened, and attached to the bag rack. It took a bit of time but it got done. While doing the not-so-thrilling task, I considered how we all do this at times. We push things off. We let things for other people. My kids do it in the kitchen. They make a small spill when pouring some milk or juice and it sits. They could easily clean it up with a rag and it would only take a few seconds. Instead they leave it and it becomes more difficult to clean when I notice it there. A spouse may leave the car nearly empty of gas so the other person has to drive to the gas station to fill it up. A co-worker might leave something for the next shift or for another co-worker simply because “they can do it.”
We live in a culture that has a problem accepting responsibility. I know I’m guilty of it and when I look around, I can tell that I am not the only one. We do not want to take responsibility. We do not want to be accountable. It is so much easier to push things off. Today, be accountable. Take responsibility. Remember that in any and everything you do, it can be an opportunity to give God the glory He deserves. Don’t just stash some crumbled bags away for the next person. Don’t leave your work area dirty for your co-worker. Don’t let the milk sit for the next person. Take initiative.
“So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” – 1 Corinthians 10:31 [NLT]