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!