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]
A tortoise stands up to allow lizards and birds to get the insects that are in the hard-to-reach areas. One would think that a tortoise would not want to surround himself with lizards and birds, that they are very different from the slow-paced life of the tortoise. While this action of the tortoise benefits the tortoise, who likely gets irritated and annoyed by the insects, it also benefits the lizards and birds, who get a nice meal. What a great way for these creatures to live together in harmony!
In life, we are supposed to live in harmony with each other too. This can seem like a hard task as we sometimes do not understand certain people or enjoy their company. We question why someone comes along our path. We see some people near us as a nuisance. There are people we do not see as helpful. Some people are draining. Let’s be honest. It’s true. You will not like everyone. You will not get along with everyone. You may not want to lift yourself up for a lizard to help you out, because you cannot get past the annoyance of the lizard.
When you face these challenges, understand that the other person is created in the image of God. Just like you, the person is a broken image-bearer. It may be for your good that you have encountered the person. Remember, God uses all things to accomplish His great purpose. God is continuing to grow you into who you were meant to be in life. Today, choose to rise up like the tortoise and elevate those around you. As you look out for the best interest of others, as you invest in others and do whatever you can do to speak life to them, God will use what you pour out for His glory and He will continue to mold you into His image and teach you how to love others as He loves.
“Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight.” – Romans 12:16 [ESV]
“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” – Genesis 1:27 [ESV]
“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” – Romans 8:28 [NASB]
“Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” – Philippians 2:4 [ESV]
“My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.” – John 15:12 [NIV]