You yourselves have been taught by God to love each other.
—1 Thessalonians 4:9
How do you go on living when you think the end of the world is near? Though only God knows the day and the hour (Mark 13:32), many false teachers have claimed to know too.
They lead some people to go into a panic-mode, sell all their goods, and gather to await “the final day.” Others go into a survival mode, stocking food and building shelters, hoping to outlast a disaster.
Paul advises that we live as normally as possible while waiting for Jesus to return. He says, “Mind your own business. Work with your hands. Live quietly. Be independent.”
Paul is telling Christians to keep busy at being a loving community that works. No one should get too nosy. No one should take advantage of the generosity of others. In these ways everyone will honor God’s teaching to love one another.
Further, Paul is reminding believers they are all God-taught. God writes the basic stuff of living on our hearts (see Romans 2:14-15). This means that in many cases we know very well what we should do and not do. Should we goof off and lip off, or work lovingly and quietly?
It is a delicate balancing act to live in community. If we were not God-taught, we could never manage it.
Lord Jesus, you saw how your own disciples struggled to get along at times. But they learned from you. Please forgive us, and teach us too, through your Spirit. Amen.
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