There is no perfect church! The church at Thessalonica, in spite of its work of faith, labour of love, and patience of hope, all which were highly commended by Paul, had her share of problems. In his closing remarks on this epistle, Paul made special mention of two kinds of people in Thessalonica.
1. Those who are disorderly (verse 6)
2. Those who are idle (verse 10).
1. THOSE WHO ARE DISORDERLY (verse 6)
The word “disorderly” is a military word. It means “out of ranks; deviating from the prescribed order or rule” (Thayer’s Greek Lexicon). It describes a soldier who is out of rank or a soldier who is out of order. It carries the idea of one who is insubordinate or one who is disrespectful of those who have been placed in authority over him. Paul says this group of people is not following “the tradition” passed down by the apostles (verse 6). But, the traditions of the apostles came from Christ. Hence, a “disorderly walk” denotes conduct that is in any way contrary to the teachings of Christ. Such people have problems obeying rules and regulations; even if such rules were from the Lord.
The God of peace has called us to be a peaceful people (2 Corinthians 13:11). Hence, we are commanded to live in peace with all men (Hebrews 12:14). Peaceful people live in harmony with others. Peaceful people respect rules and follow the leaders. The church ought to be a place where peace prevails: “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God” (Matthew 5:9).
2. THOSE WHO ARE IDLE (verse 10).
Besides this disorderly walk, Paul heard of some who worked not at all. In other words, idleness was spreading in the church. Perhaps, there were some in Thessalonica who were living on Christian charities. They took advantage of the brethren’s kindness and benevolent spirit and would not work. Perhaps, some were saying they were busy in God’s kingdom and would not get a secular job to support their families. Over against this false pretense, Paul commanded with this stern law: “If any man will not work, neither let him eat.” Men who can work but will rather support themselves by begging or living on the goodwill of others, should not get one morsel of bread.
Paul says such idle folks are also walking disorderly (verse 11). They are walking out of ranks. They are not following the rule that men ought to work and support themselves and their families: “But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel” (1 Timothy 5:8).
Idleness is the parent of many crimes. Paul says they become busybodies. “Busybodies are idle, yet busy; idle as regards their own work, but busy with the business of others; ever meddling with what belongs not to them; always counseling others and interfering with their concerns, whilst neglecting their own” (Homiletics, Pulpit Commentaries).
We have this proverb: “An idle mind is the devil’s workshop.” It means a person who doesn’t have something particular to occupy himself with doing will be tempted to occupy himself with sin. Paul warns about supporting young widows from church funds which leaves them with little to do. The result, they become busybodies (1 Timothy 5:13).
Orderly and work; they are our Christian virtue and duties. To walk orderly is to walk in steps with others; it is to be in harmony. Work is commanded from the Garden of Eden (Genesis 2:15). Let us be peaceful and hardworking people of God.
Psa 119:97 Oh how love I thy law! It is my meditation all the day.