THE PATH OF GRACE

Following the “path of least resistance” by definition, is an option of avoiding difficulty or unpleasantness; the easiest course of action.  Most of us shyaway from confrontation and generally choose the path of least resistance.  But is that the best way?

When any given group of people form a team to accomplish a specific and significant task, not matter what it is, there will always be that “one” who doesn’t pull their weight.  This “one” doesn’t stop the work, because the others will take up the slack by doing the work of the lazy one because the ultimate goal is the completion of the project or task, right?

Paul says no.  We might say, “But Paul, it’s okay, we’ll do his work and ours to avoid conflict.”  “The goal is to finish the work God gave us to do.”  “So, we will not cause a scene, we will work harder so nothing is left undone.”  Paul still says no.  As a great leader, who is led by the Holy Spirit of God, Paul tells the church that laziness is not to be tolerated but we are not to get mad or even.  We are to “sit him down and talk about the problem as someone who cares.” 

There are many reasons people do not serve or serve well.  We need to take the time to sit down with them and talk it over.  Ask questions, in a spirit of love, with care for the individual such as; “How can I help you serve?”  “What do you need to serve well?”  “Is there something you don’t know that you need to know?” “Is there something else you feel God is asking you to do?”  “How can I help connect you to what God is asking you to be?” “Who would you like to work with so you can learn from them?” There are many more helpful questions, but you get the picture. 

Sometimes the person is so overwhelmed by the task, that they give up readily. That is a warning sign to leaders who have not prepared them well for the task.  We have not trained them but have merely dumped them into a situation that is completely foreign to them, leaving them to fin for themselves.  Giving up looks a lot like laziness on the outside.

“Let’s pray together, asking God for his purpose and plan.” This a great beginning and ending to this type of conversation. As God lead us, and He will when we ask, Paul’s “sit and talk about it” plan is better for correcting the path of the person who is deemed lazy which will, in turn, further the health of the church!

I think of Paul’s advice to the Ephesian church, “Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.”  (Ephesians 4, NLT) 

After reading this passage, I think of lazy people who required “extra grace” and a talk from a team leader.  I also saw joy abound in a changed life that was directed to a better way to live.  I also remember times when caring people took me aside to privately correct my own lazy attitude, putting me back on the “path of God’s love and Christ’s endurance.”   

Right now, again today, I now thank God for those people who gave me “the talk”! 

Friends, could that be the ultimate goal, that trumps even the completion of the task at hand?  When God invites us to join Him in HIS work; is this the real goal…to correct our walk with love and caring concern for each other? Mm, something to think about…Oh God, I see what you’re doing there…

THESSALONIANS—LIVING FORWARD!

2 Thessalonians 3, The Message

Those Who Are Lazy

1-3 One more thing, friends: Pray for us. Pray that the Master’s Word will simply take off and race through the country to a groundswell of response, just as it did among you. And pray that we’ll be rescued from these troublemakers who are trying to do us in. I’m finding that not all “believers” are believers. But the Master never lets us down. He’ll stick by you and protect you from evil.

4-5 Because of the Master, we have great confidence in you. We know you’re doing everything we told you and will continue doing it. May the Master take you by the hand and lead you along the path of God’s love and Christ’s endurance.

6-9 Our orders—backed up by the Master, Jesus—are to refuse to have anything to do with those among you who are lazy and refuse to work the way we taught you. Don’t permit them to freeload on the rest. We showed you how to pull your weight when we were with you, so get on with it. We didn’t sit around on our hands expecting others to take care of us. In fact, we worked our fingers to the bone, up half the night moonlighting so you wouldn’t be burdened with taking care of us. And it wasn’t because we didn’t have a right to your support; we did. We simply wanted to provide an example of diligence, hoping it would prove contagious.

10-13 Don’t you remember the rule we had when we lived with you? “If you don’t work, you don’t eat.” And now we’re getting reports that a bunch of lazy good-for-nothings are taking advantage of you. This must not be tolerated. We command them to get to work immediately—no excuses, no arguments—and earn their own keep. Friends, don’t slack off in doing your duty.

14-15 If anyone refuses to obey our clear command written in this letter, don’t let him get by with it. Point out such a person and refuse to subsidize his freeloading. Maybe then he’ll think twice. But don’t treat him as an enemy. Sit him down and talk about the problem as someone who cares.

16 May the Master of Peace himself give you the gift of getting along with each other at all times, in all ways. May the Master be truly among you!

17 I, Paul, bid you good-bye in my own handwriting. I do this in all my letters, so examine my signature as proof that the letter is genuine.

18 The incredible grace of our Master, Jesus Christ, be with all of you!

Lord,

Your work is YOUR work in us.  Sometimes it appears easy then it is challenging, but whatever is asked, you provide a means to do it.  Thank you for the people you sent in my life to correct my path.  Help me to see people like you see them.  Help me to extend tremendous amounts of grace to them like you did for me.  Lead me, Lord.  Keep me on the Your path, always pointing people to You.

In Jesus Name, For Your Glory, Amen!

About randscallawayffm

Randy and Susan co founded Finding Focus Ministries in 2006. Their goal as former full time pastors, is to serve and provide spiritual encouragement and focus to those on the "front lines" of ministry. Extensive experience being on both sides of ministry, paid and volunteer, on the mission fields of other countries as well as the United States, helps them bring a different perspective to those who need it most. Need a lift? Call us 260 229 2276.
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