“My Father is still working, and I also am working” - John 5:17 (NIV).
The term “idle and disorderly” was introduced by the British colonialists to contain those whose conduct they considered a threat to the existence of the ruling class. People who fall in that category include: those found wandering aimlessly, going about begging alms, betting in public places, loitering around to solicit for sex, etc. Upon conviction of these crimes one can be subject to a stiff fine or imprisonment up to seven years.
For these British rulers the “idle and disorderly” were considered as a nuisance, deserving to be punished. But in truth, for many people their aimlessness was a result of being deprived of their livelihood. Think of a time when people used to live in communities where they woke up to roles and duties specified for every individual. This is how most of our African societies used to function before colonialism arrived to upset the social order.
Writing to the church in Thessalonica, the Apostle Paul too, decries being “idle and disorderly” but for a different reason. His concern was not to secure himself and a group of nobles a genteel life safe from being disturbed by the “riff ruff” ! Paul was concerned that everyone of us should be gainfully employed.
“In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we command you, brothers and sisters, to keep away from every believer who is idle and disruptive and does not live according to the teaching you received from us” (2 Thessalonians 3:6), he wrote. When people are “idle and disorderly” Paul noted they tend to become “busybodies. Such people we command and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and earn the food they eat” (vv 11-12).
It has been noted that King David took a man’s wife because he, Uriah, was at war, while David was slackening back home, with a lot of time on his hand (2 Samuel 11). Paul’s admonition against idleness is actually for our good. Aside from enabling us earn a living, it also saves us from all those temptations and distractions that come as a result of not being occupied in some productive pursuit.
Today, thank God if you have a task to keep you fully motivated and engaged through the day, for that is how the Lord intended to be. And where you may not, pray that you soon discover and engage in that task, so consuming that you have no time for being “idle and disorderly”!
Prayer for today: Lord Father God of Abraham, maker of heaven and earth, I am grateful for the work you have given to me to keep me fully occupied and likewise pray that all believers may enjoy the same, for work is a form of worship to you, this I pray in Jesus’s name!
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“Who dares despise the day of small things, since the seven eyes of the Lord that range throughout the earth will rejoice when they see the chosen capstone in the hand of Zerubbabel” ( Zechariah 4:10).
The public life of King David is well known. However, there is an early aspect of his life quite hidden though we can get glimpse of it. The first time we get to know David he is a stay home kid while his big brothers are on to bigger stuff, like fighting with King Saul. “Jesse’s three oldest sons had followed Saul to the war: The firstborn was Eliab; the second, Abinadab; and the third, Shammah. David was the youngest. The three oldest followed Saul, but David went back and forth from Saul to tend his father’s sheep at Bethlehem” ( I Samuel 27:13-14).
Left home alone perhaps it was a time for David to bond with the old man Jesse. Maybe he sometimes felt idle and ignored. But there was something maturing in his life for the life ahead. For in the meantime as he would later point to King Saul once an opportunity availed itself, God was ironing out his CV. When he offered to take on Goliath and Saul hesitated, he quickly shot back: “Your servant has been keeping his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it. Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God. The Lord who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine” (vv 35-37).
That’s the point. What had apparent been idle moments God was preparing David for the battles ahead? He would not only emerge out of the shadow as a great warrior but also a shepherd of his people ever relying on God.
Equally so, for all of us, there are moments that might appear idle and we feel frustrated as we see the days go by. Yet, in His gentle ways, God is preparing us for great days ahead.
Prayer today: Lord Father God, maker of heaven and earth, for those periods in life of apparent inactivity and maybe trials, help me appreciate them as the maturing me, for in due time and season all will bear fruit, this I pray in Jesus’ name!