Examples are for a purpose
We certainly had the right to ask you to feed us, but we wanted to give you an example to follow. Even while we were with you, we gave you this command: “Those unwilling to work will not get to eat.” Yet we hear that some of you are living idle lives, refusing to work and meddling in other people’s business. We command such people and urge them in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and work to earn their own living. As for the rest of you, dear brothers and sisters, never get tired of doing good. 2 Thessalonians 3:9-13 NLT
We cannot help but realize that someone after us is looking up to us. This is inherent to those who claim they are Christians and are faithful followers of God. “Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity” (1 Timothy 4:12). This is what Paul had stressed in the minds of believers in Thessalonica. Him and his friends working alongside with him are not exempted to such expectation. They are working hard so they could leave the body of believers an “example to follow.” They are working diligently ministering to the church not expecting anything in return so that they will not be accused of being motivated by greed or they are in the ministry for personal gain. Paul admits that those who ministers in God’s name should be supported; “We certainly had the right to ask you to feed us.” He does not want that the church should neglect providing for the needs of those who are legitimate and honest in what they are doing as ministers of the gospel. What he is concerned about are those believers who are idle. Paul, Silas, and Timothy might have seen the problems that have been created by the idleness of some of those who belong in the church. “We hear that some of you are living idle lives, refusing to work and meddling in other people’s business.” If this matter of idleness or any form of sin will not be addressed, it could affect the whole church. This is why, while it is affecting a small group of people in the church, it should be addressed immediately. Paul also made his appeal to this group of people that they should listen to the command: “We urge them in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and work to earn their own living.” Then, Paul provided an encouragement to those who are not idle to remain strong and steadfast in their commitment so that they will “never get tired of doing good.” These believers might think that there is no sense to continue doing good when others seemed to be fine even when they are not exerting any effort to do what is right. We should not be discouraged in doing what God has called us to do. “Let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up” (Galatians 6:9).