In 2 Thessalonians 3, Paul asks the Thessalonians to pray for them and warns them against irresponsible behavior.
Paul begins this chapter by asking the Thessalonians to pray for them. He asks them to pray that the word of the Lord would spread rapidly and be honored, like it was for the Thessalonians. Paul knew that the success of many of his ministries relied on the prayers of others.
He then commands them to not walk with the idle. See the strength in this. He doesn’t just command them but he commands them in the name of Jesus Christ. Paul had already told them to warn the idle in 1 Thess. 5. Now he is calling for them to be disciplined. The purpose in withdrawing from these disobedient was not so much punishment, but more so simply to deny these disobedient ones the aid and comfort of the fellowship of the body of Christ until they repented.
For you yourselves know how you should imitate us: We were not idle among you; we did not eat anyone’s food free of charge; instead, we labored and toiled, working night and day, so that we would not be a burden to any of you. It is not that we don’t have the right to support, but we did it to make ourselves an example to you so that you would imitate us. In fact, when we were with you, this is what we commanded you: “If anyone isn’t willing to work, he should not eat.”2 Thessalonians 3:7-10
Paul was an excellent example among the Thessalonians, in that he worked hard to support his own needs. This wasn’t because apostles like Paul didn’t have the right to request support. Instead, it was because he wanted to set a good example of hard work and prove false any accusation that he preached the Gospel for personal gain.
Verses 7-10 show me that it is important not to grow idle. Paul showed us the importance of hard work and being able to completely support yourself. People can see your work ethic and that can either push people to God or drive them away. People of Christ should be hard workers.
But as for you, brothers and sisters, do not grow weary in doing good.2 Thessalonians 3:13
Even though some take advantage of the good I can do for them, Paul reminds me that it is important that I don’t grow tired of doing good. I need to not let some people discourage me from doing the work of God.