The school year is over, and we’re looking down the barrel of a summer full of possibilities.
Long, sunny days that scream
Swimming! Popsicles! Sleeping In!
in between the planned
Beach Vacation! Grandma’s House! Summer Camp!
In my mind, I like to also think
Library! Art Museums! Learning How To Properly Fold Laundry!
By August, after all the vacations have come to an end, and we are sliding into the last days before a new school year, I know from practice that we will have seen
Nonstop TV Watching! Too Much Time Spent Indoors! Numerous Proclamations Of ‘I’m Bored!’
I have good intentions for productive summer vacations. However, my will to carry them out can easily go by the wayside if I’m not vigilant. A houseful of people who suddenly find themselves with unlimited time on their hands can lead to the worst types of idleness.
I have accepted this truth and try to overcome it; after all, I am the role model here. I don’t want my children living here when they’re my age. Year to year, we have mild success at being productive through the summer months. The kids take suggestions with variable aplomb; they respect and know that my directives are expected to be carried out and that I never ask them to do anything that they are incapable of doing. They push back, but they know that I mean well for them.
When Paul wrote his letter to the Thessalonians, he outlined a life that was expected of them according to God’s plan. Esteem authorities. Be at peace with others. Comfort the weak. Be patient. Pursue what is good for everyone. Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing. Give thanks in everything. Don’t quench the spirit. Do not despise prophecies. Hold onto the good. Stay away from evil. Paul meant well for the Thessalonians, because he knew that it was what God intended for them.
We would do well to add these items to our list for a productive life, and not just during certain times of the year. Our behavior, words, and character, if shaped according to these instructions, will adhere to the good intentions that God has for our lives. He expects it of us.
We may fail amazingly at living up to these expectations daily, but Paul’s words are meant to encourage us by showing the right way to live – the good life. God, through Paul, shows that he knows what’s best for us. It is never easy to live according to God’s plan for us, but with his help it is attainable.
Perhaps even more attainable than getting my children to the library over the summer.
Dear brothers and sisters, honor those who are your leaders in the Lord’s work. They work hard among you and give you spiritual guidance. Show them great respect and wholehearted love because of their work. And live peacefully with each other.
Brothers and sisters, we urge you to warn those who are lazy. Encourage those who are timid. Take tender care of those who are weak. Be patient with everyone.
See that no one pays back evil for evil, but always try to do good to each other and to all people.
Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.
Do not stifle the Holy Spirit. Do not scoff at prophecies, but test everything that is said. Hold on to what is good. Stay away from every kind of evil. 1 Thessalonians 5:12-22 (NLT)