6 弟兄們，我們奉主耶穌基督的名吩咐你們，凡有弟兄不按規矩而行，不遵守從我們所受的教訓，就當遠離他。 7 你們自己原知道應當怎樣效法我們。因為我們在你們中間，未嘗不按規矩而行， 8 也未嘗白吃人的飯，倒是辛苦勞碌，晝夜做工，免得叫你們一人受累。 9 這並不是因我們沒有權柄，乃是要給你們作榜樣，叫你們效法我們。 10 我們在你們那裏的時候，曾吩咐你們說，若有人不肯做工，就不可吃飯。 11 因我們聽說，在你們中間有人不按規矩而行，甚麼工都不做，反倒專管閒事。 12 我們靠主耶穌基督吩咐、勸戒這樣的人，要安靜做工，吃自己的飯。
II Thessalonians Chapter 3:6-11
6In 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 teaching you received from us. 7For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example. We were not idle when we were with you, 8nor 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. 9We did this, not because we do not have the right to such help, but in order to make ourselves a model for you to follow. 10For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: “If a man will not work, he shall not eat.” 11We hear that some among you are idle. They are not busy; they are busybodies. 12Such people we command and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and earn the bread they eat.
- Paul unabashedly uses the principle of imitation repeatedly in his writings, because he knows that on its most fundamental level this is how spiritual formation works. The formation of habits (even holy, patient, righteous, giving habits) comes only by imitation until they become our own. In this case, the issue is idleness, and Paul and his co-workers have modeled how believers are to “work quietly and to earn their own living”.
- What spiritual habits do I desire to develop?
- What am I doing in preparation for the coming of Christ, “Idling”? “Working quietly and earning own living”? “Not weary in doing what is right”? Lord, help me to be alert and diligent in doing what is good to wait for your coming!
Family Time (Begin this time by reading the passage above using a children’s Bible.)
Ask: Paul asked Christians in Thessalonica to follow his examples. What examples of Mom or Dad do you like to follow? What examples does Mom or Dad want your children to follow? Talk about them and decide which ones to follow. Write them in your Family Devotional Journal.