Can a person be a genuine Christian and a lazy and unproductive person at the same time? That's an interesting question. These two attributes seem to be diametrically opposed to each other. But let's suppose for the sake of this post it is possible. The question is, how should we deal with lazy Christians?
Paul the apostle wrote to the church at Thessalonica about this very subject. "For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies," he said (2 Thessalonians 3:11). To me, it's interesting that these kinds of churchgoers existed even in the first century Christian church. And though the Christian church has come a long way since then--and I mean that mostly in a negative way--there have always been lazy believers.
OK, so what was the biblical advice to the church? "When we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat" (verse 10). We live in a society where many people live to beat the system. These work as little as they can. Some are content being life-long recipients of social programs. Of course, these programs have their place, but they should not be found in the life of able-bodied Christians who don't have to depend on others and these programs but choose to.
Now, let me come to the tough love part. "And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed. Yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother" (verses 14-15). Ouch! that hurts.
Laziness among those who name the name of Christ is no laughing matter. It is not to be ignored by fellow Christians. We are not to lend ourselves to their exploitation. Christians who refuse to work should be ashamed of themselves.
Of course, we can apply this biblical guidance to a lazy child or a lazy family member as well. We should love them as members of the family, but we should not excuse their laziness; rather, we must admonish them to be productive and to work with their own hands.
Let me close by revisiting the question I posed at the onset of this post. Can a person be a genuine Christian and a lazy and unproductive person at the same time? I suppose he can, since the Holy Spirit empowers us to do what's right, but does not make us do so. But the church body should be instrumental in challenging all of its members who can to work with their own hands, to be productive members of society, and to provide for their own. This is pleasing in the sight of our Lord.
Copyright © 2012 by Frank King. All rights reserved.