Paraphrasing Chrysostom on 1 Thess: “Suck it up, whiners!” (Gupta)

I am having a blast reading through Chrysostom’s homilies on 1 Thessalonians as I research for my commentary. He is very energetic and…well, “preachy.”

I had to laugh out loud at his homiletic reflections on 1 Thess 4:3-6 where Paul tells the Thessalonians to control their passions. Chrysostom entertains the complaint of his own time, “I couldn’t help myself. I got needs.”

I just love that his basic response is – quit your belly-aching! Ultimately, his advice is: “It all comes down to whether you really want to do what is right or not.” Here are two examples that he offers of excusing laziness (in my paraphrase)

#1: Isn’t it the easiest thing to just drive a mile away to the mall. But what do you do – complain that its too far or too cold. 

#2: What is easier than just to sleep. But because you decided to take a nap, you can’t even manage to sleep at night! How can you fail at sleeping?

Enough paraphrasing – here is how he concludes (formal English translation): “in short nothing is difficult when men are willing; as nothing is easy, when they are unwilling; for we are masters of all these things” (Homily 5)

Thank you, John. The golden-tongue speaks! This makes for great preaching!

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2 thoughts on “Paraphrasing Chrysostom on 1 Thess: “Suck it up, whiners!” (Gupta)

  1. I really love how Chrysostom can turn a quick phrase into something so profound. The passage you quote at the end of your blog about being willing/ unwilling seems to pack a lot of punch. Laziness often can be our worst enemy. I really like your paraphrase about the mall, especially in a world where it’s never been easier to just get up and go. Chrysostom would probably be shocked at our laziness today.

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