6 Brothers and sisters, we command you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to stay away from every brother or sister who lives an undisciplined life that is not in line with the traditions that you received from us. 7 You yourselves know how you need to imitate us because we were not undisciplined when we were with you. 8 We didn’t eat anyone’s food without paying for it. Instead, we worked night and day with effort and hard work so that we would not impose on you. 9 We did this to give you an example to imitate, not because we didn’t have a right to insist on financial support. 10 Even when we were with you we were giving you this command: “If anyone doesn’t want to work, they shouldn’t eat.” 11 We hear that some of you are living an undisciplined life. They aren’t working, but they are meddling in other people’s business. 12 By the Lord Jesus Christ, we command and encourage such people to work quietly and put their own food on the table. 13 Brothers and sisters, don’t get discouraged in doing what is right.
Has anyone told you to “stay in your lane?” I don’t recall hearing it, but when I was in seventh grade it would have been better for me to stay in mine.
So here’s what happened. It was at a track and field event, and I was the last runner in our 4×100-yard dash.
While receiving my baton, the person in the lane next to me dropped his and came into my lane to get it. To avoid a crash, I went off the track. I was in the inside lane, kept running through the crowd, and eventually got back on track.
I don’t remember how I placed in the race. It really didn’t matter. We were disqualified because I didn’t stay in my lane.
In Max Lucado’s book, Glory Days, in the middle of the book he writes, “Stay in your lane. Run your own race. Nothing good happens when you compare and compete. God does not judge you according to the talent of others. He judges you according to yours. His yardstick for measuring faithfulness is how faithful you are with your own gifts. You are not responsible for the nature of your gifts. But you are responsible for how you use them.”
Jeremiah 29 tells us that God has a plan for me, to give me a hope and a future. Psalm 139 tells us that God has searched me and knows me, when I sit and rise, before a word is on my tongue, God knows it completely.
In verse 23 it reads, “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.”
All this is true, but I believe Paul wanted us, at least at times, to get out of our lanes.
That phrase means to mind our own business, but in 2 Thessalonians 3, Paul isn’t telling us to stay in our lane—or mind our own business. Just the opposite.
Paul is telling us to imitate him. He also said the same thing in Philippines 3:17. He also told us to imitate God, Jesus and other disciplined Christians.
Sometimes it’s OK to get out of our lane, but only if the person we imitate is also imitating Jesus.
by Rick Reed
For Pondering & Prayer
The Scriptures are loaded with good examples of folks to imitate, and how to live successful lives.
Prayer: Lord, help us to carefully choose who we should imitate. Help us to always follow Christ and become students of the Word. Amen.