In this letter, Paul reminds the people of their responsibility to work hard, support themselves, and to avoid the trap of idleness. Obviously, the Thessalonian church was having some difficulty in this area as Paul was stern in his reminder that they were not to be taking advantage of one another or wasting their time as busybodies. He had set a solid example for them to follow with his exemplary work ethic. This is one of those passages of Scripture that is really quite straight forward as we know that we are to be glorifying God through the work of our hands, the words of our mouths, and the thoughts of our minds. It seems that we should read this passage and simply follow the instructions Paul sets forth. Some might even read this and think to themselves that they’ve mastered this issue…they can’t think of the last day they spent in idleness. However, more than just telling the people of the church to work hard and take responsibility, Paul also encourages them to watch out for one another in love and not enable their brothers and sisters to fall into sin.
Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.Galations 6:1-2
Paul speaks in this passage of holding one another accountable in brotherly love. When the people witnessed a brother living in idleness, they were not to simply go on about their day, but rather to warn him of the dangerous path he was treading. As we go about our days, let’s not spend time quietly judging our brothers and sisters over differing opinions or treating them as an enemy as we see them heading toward a sinful path. Instead let’s take the time to encourage our family in the ways of the Lord, loving our brothers and sisters enough to bear their burdens and gently hold them accountable. Let’s not only watch our neighbor’s choices, but let’s also keep an eye on our own hearts, that we may bring glory to our Father.