I think on some level we are all inherently lazy. Some of us just have an easier time pushing through that inertia. We all run on Newton’s first law. An object or person at rest, stays at rest. An object/person in motion stays in motion unless acted upon by an unbalanced force. Have you ever heard that expression, if you want something done, give it to the busiest person in the room?
This past week I’ve been reading Paul’s letters to the Thessalonians. There is so much good stuff in those short letters that speak to this, to respecting those who work hard and warning those who are idle. Here are a few of my favorite verses and why.
“Respect those who work hard among you, who are over you in the Lord and who admonish you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:12. I love the reminder in this verse to respect people who work hard, and for us to take criticism. I think we all have a much harder time these days listening to the opinions of others, especially when they dare to tell us that our actions might not be okay. We forget that we learn from failure as much or more than from success. And maybe some days we need to be told to get moving, or to work harder. I know I certainly do.
“Live in peace with each other…warn those who are idle, encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone. Make sure nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else.” 1 Thessalonias 5:14-15. Be patient!! Words that I sometimes struggle to live by and it is through my lack of patience that I sometimes find myself in conflict rather than peace, or I forget to encourage or help others. But I always find those times when I can step back, and try to understand why someone is reacting a certain way are the times I feel the closest to God.
And then in 2 Thessalonians 3, Paul says “in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we command you to keep away from one who is idle… for even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: “If a man will not work, he shall not eat.” …”And never tire of doing what is right.”
I know that I’m always much happier and more relaxed the busier I am. There is nothing more guaranteed to make me feel drained and exhausted than spending a day on the couch. And people who don’t do anything want you to do nothing with them. It makes them feel better for not accomplishing anything. Now I’m not saying that there isn’t a time for rest. Even God took the seventh day off, but you can be sure, he worked hard the other sixth. And it’s when you work hard that you can rest on that 7th day, look around and say “it is very good”.
“…be joyful always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Jesus Christ.”
“Do not put out the Spirit’s fire, test everything, hold on to the good, avoid every kind of evil.”
“The one who calls you is faithful…”
What a recipe for the life we are called to live as children of God. So often God is portrayed as self-righteously looking down from on high and judging us. But this letter from Paul so beautifully sums up the life that God wants for us. To be joyful always, to work hard and be respectful and peaceful and to be kind to each other. Instead of turning away from God, we should be turning back to him. We should be stoking the Spirit’s fire instead of putting it out, we should pray continually…thank God for that parking spot, that break in traffic, that green light. Newton’s law applies to your faith as much as your physical activity, so keep moving, and keep praying. Be an object in motion.