The province of British Columbia has been trying to implement the “Idle free B.C” program for a number of years now. The message they are sending declares that unnecessary idling of vehicles wastes fuel and results in emissions that degrade the local air quality and contribute to climate change. They are taking proactive measures now to ensure that the health of the environment is sustainable for the generations to come.
Paul’s second letter to the Thessalonians gives us a descriptive warning against idleness of a different sort, a behaviour that falls within our human nature that can have an effect on the “local air quality”. “We hear that some among you are idle and disruptive. They are not busy; they are busybodies.” (3:11). The idle and disruptive nature that Paul describes here can also be seen as disorderly and irresponsible. There were those among the Thessalonians who felt that with the day of the Lord coming near they didn’t have to work or make any contribution to society, often adding a burden to others. These “busybodies” as Paul calls them work their way into the business of others as they work to live according to the model set before them by the Apostles (a model of self-sacrifice and commitment to doing their best in their service for God). Paul’s instruction to the believers is direct and to the point when it comes to these idle and disruptive people, “Do not associate with them, in order that they may feel ashamed.” (3:14).
Even as Paul’s command to the people might seem cold and hard he continues in verse 15 with further instructions, “Yet do not regard them as an enemy, but warn them as you would a fellow believer”. We are not to hate these people, God calls us to show them love through instruction and teaching so that they can be set free from the grip of evil and destruction. As we work diligently to be faithful and loving in our relationships with God and others we are called to be an example to others. As hard as it seems at times let us heed the words of the Apostle Paul when he says, “brothers and sisters, never tire (become discouraged or disheartened) of doing what is good”. (3:13)