Don’t Be Lazy Like the Cheese
We hear that some among you are idle and disruptive. They are not busy; they are busybodies. Such people we command and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and earn the food they eat. And as for you, brothers and sisters, never tire of doing what is good.
2 Thessalonians 3:11-13
"You are as lazy as cheese!" the man said to me. I was a sixteen-year-old exchange student in Germany. The man was my German host father for the entire year. Honestly, I think back on some of the stunts I pulled that year, and I don't know how he put up with me.
One afternoon, completely frustrated with my behavior, my host father told me I was as "lazy as cheese." Obviously, this is a bad translation. In German, the same word is used to describe lazy people and sharp cheese. I wasn't insulted because I was too fascinated by the word play.
"What a great pun!" I said, laughing.
This did not help my host father's frustration. He just wanted me to mow the lawn, a task I despised because I was asthmatic and allergic to grass. And maybe a little lazy.
Paul's advice to the Thessalonians would have done me good. As an exchange student, I was often idle and disruptive. I rarely settled down to help earn the food I was eating, but I knew better. My biological parents back in America had taught me to do all of my work as if for the Lord (Col. 3:23). My host father, too, was a good Christian man, and he patiently reminded me not to bury my talents (Matt. 25:16). "Ai, yai, yai! Put your skills to work!" he would say, and then teach me to split logs for Oma or press wine or harvest apples or tear down a three-story house with sledge hammers or whatever Saturday task he found for the family. My host father knew that God made us to work and to work hard, and in all of those instances, my role was to work for him as if working for the Lord.
We really did tear down a three-story house with sledge hammers.
And the work was so good.
QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION
Were you raised with a strong work ethic? Think back on some of the most difficult work you have done. Who were you serving? What did you learn about yourself from this work? What did you learn about your relationship to God from this work?
Dear God, I know my work doesn't save me, but that doesn't mean my work is insignificant. Thank you for creating a world in which my daily work matters—whether I am doing work for pay, as a volunteer, or simply as a person taking care of necessary tasks in life. What I do matters.
And I thank you that I am more than what I do. You have called me to be your child. This has nothing to do with my work and everything to do with yours. Thank you for doing the work of saving all of us through the death and resurrection of your son, Jesus Christ. Amen.
P.S. from Mark Roberts: The Daily Reflections for this week have been written by my friend and colleague, Marcus Goodyear. He has penned this five-day series as part of our focus on the topic of work-life balance. I know you'll find these to be engaging and encouraging. In his "day job," Marcus oversees The High Calling website and digital community in his role as Senior Editor at Foundations for Laity Renewal. He is a teacher, poet, writer, speaker, and top-notch editor, not to mention husband, father, and valued friend. Enjoy Marcus' thoughtful reflections this week, and I'll be back with you on Saturday.