Theme: We have work to do, What are you sitting here with so much to be done.
6 Now we command you, beloved, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, to keep away from believers who are living in idleness and not according to the tradition that they received from us. 7 For you yourselves know how you ought to imitate us; we were not idle when we were with you, 8 and we did not eat anyone’s bread without paying for it; but with toil and labor we worked night and day, so that we might not burden any of you. 9 This was not because we do not have that right, but in order to give you an example to imitate. 10 For even when we were with you, we gave you this command: Anyone unwilling to work should not eat. 11 For we hear that some of you are living in idleness, mere busybodies, not doing any work. 12 Now such persons we command and exhort in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work quietly and to earn their own living. 13 Brothers and sisters, do not be weary in doing what is right.
My first job was working on my grandfather’s farm. He paid $20 a week. We got up at dark, at a full breakfast, fed the chickens, hogs and cows. We fueled up the tractors and checked out all the equipment we would use for the day and set out into the fields to plow, plant or harvest. We would eat lunch and watch, “The Young and the Restless” (as it was the only channel that his thirty foot antenna would receive so far out in the country. Back to fields until six and it was time put us the tractors, wash up and get to the table for dinner. We would look forward to Sunday as it was a day of rest.
I had a few self-employed jobs raking leaves, cutting grass and occasional garden tilling, it was a seasonal cash-only enterprise that was not very dependable nor sustainable as a student. I was relieved to find an opening at Connelly’s drugs store, making drug runs to customer who preferred home deliveries and later I moved up in the company from drug runner to soda jerk. It was there I learned the secret receipt for Pimento Cheese and thick malted milk shakes.
Later I worked at Holloway’s department store, Mr and Mrs Holloway just visited us in worship a couple of Sunday’s ago. Then I got to spin some record and read the news paper on the local AM radio station. In college I worked in the computer lab and as a summer camp counselor at Glisson in Dahlonega.
I had planned to enter the field of pharmacy and following Dr Connelly’s example of caring for folks at the pharmacy counter. But while on a UMMen’s mission trip to Monterrey, MX I received a clear call that my work would be in the church. And since 1984 I have known what direction my work would take. Since that time I have served near Cartersville, Covington, Gainesville, Atlanta, near Athens, Marietta, Fairburn, Blue Ridge and now Jackson, 9 congregations, 4000+ church members, 2600+ sermons, 200+ weddings, 400+ funerals, 200+ baptisms and confirmations… and I have more than a decade and a half waiting.
I am thankful that the church has given me a vocation of work that facilitates my calling into ministry. But I am not the only minister in the church. You are not only surround by ministers, you are a minister as well.
The United Methodist Church appointed called, trained and examined over a 7 year process clergy to serve in churches. We are to administer the sacraments, preach the Word, and give spiritual and administrative leadership to the congregation. In my career the role of clergy has transformed from pastor-preacher into some hybrid of a professional administrator charged with being pastor, orator, peace-maker, teacher, lawyer, fund-raiser, preacher, spiritual guide, singer, actor, counselor, janitor, as well as target for blame and visionary for folks who resist change. The work is different in every week and every year in every ministry setting.
I have a philosophy of ministry, an understanding of my call to ministry, and this is it: My work is to make sure your work is done. If you are not working the work of the local church in Jackson and around the world, then I’m not doing my job very well. That means most of the time, my job is to work myself out of the jobs you give me and give the work back to you, the church.
Paul’s words to the church a Thessaloniki are words point toward the church and to the members within our flock, both then and now.
Probably the most familiar of sayings about who does the work around a church:
There is the 20/80 rule. 20 % of the people do 80 % of the work.
The Preacher and Staff do the work, that’s why we pay them to do it for us.
Paul reminds us that the work of the church is to be shared by everyone.
No, not everyone is called, nor able to all things.
But none are called to be retired.
None are too new or too inexperienced.
None are given a free pass, excused absences, or
Paul starts with a COMMAND. Thou SHALL work..
Following is as necessary as Leading.
Studying is as important as Teaching.
Praying is as crucial as Singing.
Giving is as powerful as Serving.
Forgiving is as essential is Assurance and Justice.
Some are Living in Idleness. Some Busybodies. Some of not any work at all.
Should these folks wear name tags? NO, they need to jump up and help out.
Command to get working: Not for praise, Not to earn a place, rather because they already have a place—in the church and in the kingdom.