1 Thessalonians 5:14-15 Brothers and sisters, we urge you to warn those who are lazy. Encourage those who are timid. Take tender care of those who are weak. Be patient with everyone.
See that no one pays back evil for evil, but always try to do good to each other and to all people.
I was struck by verse 14... then I kept wanting to write about verse 15.... something (I think the Holy Spirit) would not let me separate the two. Since I could not separate the two I went back to read them and see how I needed to connect them. And not matter how I tried I could not get away from the "warn people who are lazy" and always do good to each other." The more that I thought about it the convinced I became that warning people who are lazy is being good to them. I think that it is no coincidence that "take care of those who are weak" was in the same chapter as "warn those who are lazy." We don't do a lazy person any justice by taking care of them... we are being good to them by gently pointing out all they have to lose by being lazy.
We are not being good to somebody when we don't warn them about their laziness. Just like we are not being good to our children when we do everything for them and don't teach them how to do for themselves. Verse 14 also tells us to be patient with everyone... including the lazy... we are to warn them gently and not be frustrated when they don't "get it" at first. We need to keep after it being gentle and teaching them how the value of work. They may have never learned.
I am reminded of a story my mom told, she was a teacher. One day she was asking the kids what they wanted to be when they grew up, one little boy said, "I want to be on welfare." This child's parents were on welfare, he wanted to grow up to be like his dad. He needed someone to patiently teach him what he could have and could not have by learning not to be lazy. He sure didn't need someone to preach to him.. he needed someone to teach him.
We need to teach people... just like we don't need to leave this world not having taught our children to take care of themselves...we don't need to teach people to be dependent on the government. One day the government may not be there to take care of all the people they have taught to be dependent on them. We are not being cruel, we are being kind. It is the difference in giving a man a fish and teaching him to fish. If we always give him a fish and then go away one day, he will starve. If we teach him to fish we can go away and he can survive without us. Teaching him to fish is acting in love. Loving one another is what God called us to do, even when it is hard.