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 scoundrels 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
The incredible grace of our Master, Jesus Christ, be with all of you!
Published by permission. Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. All rights reserved. (The Message Bible Online)