Key verse: 2 Thessalonians 3:12
Big idea: Our reward is coming but requires patience.
The end of this short little letter seems to make a hard swerve. We have been talking about the end of time and the return of Jesus and now we are talking about not being a freeloader? Paul warns them against busybodies, who don't work and spend all-day gossiping, living off the generosity of the rest of the church and encourages them to quietly continue living their lives for God. How did we get from A to B? Does Paul just need another cup of coffee?
Of course, the principles are intimately related. Things are not how they will be or how they should be. Jesus is coming to separate the sheep from the goats and the wheat from the tares but in the meantime, the world is blended. We should keep our eyes on the return of Jesus so that we have hope that God will reveal Himself and His children. Yet that does not mean we should put our feet up and sit on the porch waiting for him to come. No, we work while we wait! We stay busy about even the most mundane things, because God is the one who is accomplishing His good will through us. We eat our bread and pay our taxes, not because Jesus is not King, but because we want to serve Him until His arrival.
Faithfulness today and a hope of eternity are not opposites. They are different sides of the same coin. Because our eyes are fixed on the horizon, we work until Jesus comes. Because we are working, we are painfully aware of how badly we need the Master to come and finish the job. So don't give up! Don't get weary! The harvest is coming.
Discussion idea: Why is it so hard for us to delay gratification? How can we work hard for rewards that we cannot see until Jesus returns?
Prayer focus: Lord, give me the balance to live in two worlds at once. Help me to faithfully work for you and yet to keep my heart and mind fixed on the day when all of this shall pass away.