Stay Away From People Who Are Leaches And Destroyers
By: Rev. Joe Kramer
(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. (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.
-2 Thessalonians 4:6-16 (NIV)
Well today’s passage is large and replete with a lot of information and different applications. We are going to look at this briefly and discover what God has for us today.
In verse six we see that Paul is telling us to keep away from people who are idle. The NKJV translates that as disorderly, the HCSB translate that irresponsibly. So this is talking about Christians who are not following scripture but are idle, disorderly, and irresponsible. Why would Paul not want us to make them close friends? Because usually, though not always, people who live this way will only drag you into their drama and their world, of which they are the center. They are like a hurricane, they may seem at peace but when you step back look around them they have all kinds of turmoil around them. These kinds of people will have you running around taking care of their problems (putting out fires) instead of focusing on winning people to Christ and living in peace.
In verses seven and eight Paul points out that he and his companions were not idle, disobedient, and disorderly. They worked for everything they had. They did not take help from the Thessalonians but was trying to show an example for them to follow. Why? The reason is because the Thessalonians (Greeks in genera) had an aversion to manual labor. Their attitude was that it was beneath them. He was trying to show them that they needed to toil like everyone else.
In verse nine we find Paul’s attitude toward the work he performed to survive. Paul didn’t take their hospitality, but saw the work as a part of the ministry he was accomplishing. He says that he had the right to take help from them, because he was delivering to them spiritual nourishment (see 1 Corinthians 9:11), but he didn’t do it because he wanted to set a Godly image for them to follow.
In verse eleven we come to the reason Paul is reminding them of his teaching during his time with them. He has heard that there are some people in the body of believers that are idle, disorderly and irresponsible. He says they are not being busy about God’s work buy are busy being busybodies. Busybodies, according to the Collins English Dictionary, are people who are busy meddling into the affairs of other people, who are causing problems. These “Christians” weren’t being Christ-like at all. They were being spiteful and were busy causing trouble for people in the church. Sound like some people in churches today? I am not going to say anymore on that front.
In verse twelve we see Paul urging these kinds of people to stop living off the backs of other people’s works, whether it is spiritual work or physical work, and get busy doing work themselves. A busybody tends to destroy what is being built, whereas a busy person tends to add to whatever is being built (speaking spiritually and physically here).
In verse thirteen Paul tells us to not get tired of doing good works. Even though busybodies may frustrate us and try to tear things down. We should have nothing to do with them, but continue on in our lives building people up and working to sustain ourselves in this world.
How about you today? Is your time being taken up by a busybody? Are you a busybody? If the answer is yes to both of these then repent and get to work. If your time is being taken up by a busybody, don’t let it. Let them go and get down to what God wants you to do; sharing the good news of the Gospel. The Choice is yours.