June 15, 2010
We hear that some among you are idle. They are not busy; they are busybodies. Such people we command and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and earn the bread they eat. And as for you, brothers, never tire of doing what is right. 2 Thessalonians 3:11-13
There is one question almost every family asks the pastor when they are preparing a funeral. They want to know, "How many mourners do you think will be attending the service and coming to the meal afterwards?"
That's a difficult question and the calculations are complex. Was the person still active in his or her church? How many relatives can make the trip? Is it summertime when people are traveling?
Now, from New Zealand, another factor has been introduced.
A New Zealand funeral home has had to stop a funeral crasher. That's right; the man crashed four funerals a week. He was polite and respectful, and he ate a pretty healthy, family-sponsored meal. He even brought Tupperware containers to take home leftovers.
So, here's the problem: Lutherans are pretty good cooks. If this funeral-lunch-crashing-thing catches on, someday there will be hordes of hungry strangers going from one Lutheran funeral to the next.
Although the church is always glad to help feed those who are legitimately hungry, feeding freeloading multitudes can get expensive.
While St. Paul wasn't specifically addressing such a topic in 2 Thessalonians, he certainly was dealing with all the folks who don't contribute to the welfare of themselves or others.
So what are we to do? Probably the best answer is provided by the apostle. We need to encourage people to do "what is right."
That is, of course, easy to say, but it's hard to do what is right. Now that I think about it, there has only been one Person in all of human history that has always done what was right.
That Person is the Savior Jesus Christ. He did what was right -- no, He did what was more than right -- when He gave His life so we might be saved.
Every hour of every day, of every week, of every month, and of every year found Jesus doing what was right. He did what was right when He resisted temptation. He did what was right when He kept the Law. He did what was right when He died upon the cross and rose three days later.
And when Jesus attended a funeral, He didn't take. He gave. He gave life to the dead.
In thanks for the rightness of what Jesus has done, we try to do what is right.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, for showing us what is right, we give thanks. Even more, we rejoice that Your perfection has brought about our forgiveness and given us eternal life. In Your Name. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries