We find Paul caring for, and praying for, this church often (1:2-3, 2:13). They had ministered to him after he had been run out of Phillipi ( 2:2) and they received the Word of God with zeal (2:13). Paul and his traveling companions weren’t able to stay there long and had wanted to come back and see the progress of the Thessalonian church (2:17-18). They had later encountered persecution and Paul was anxious to see how the young church was doing. He sent Timothy to check on the Thessalonian saints and encourage them. When Timothy returned back to Paul he had a great report to share about the progress of their faith (3:1-10).
In 1 Thessalonians 2:8, the Apostle Paul writes, “We were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become dear to us.”
I am reminded of the love and warmth that is shared between pastor and the flock. I have been blessed to serve three different congregations over the past 22 years. There comes a point as a pastor that the line between obligation and love is blurred. There are moments, especially early on in ministry where I have labored to visit the sick, counsel the hurting, and minister among the broken, because it was an obligation (first to God and second to the people who had confirmed God’s call). Then there came the moment when I showed up to the hospital for someone, not because it was an obligation (part of the job), but because of the genuine love and care for them. The sense of obligation has been replaced with a genuine love.
You can tell as you read though 1 Thessalonians that the Apostle Paul has a genuine affection for the people of this church. He longs for their good. He wants to observe their faith firsthand and he writes to answer their questions and encourage them. A genuine love for God will always overflow into a love for his people.
FATHER, Thank you for the church. We are grateful for our brothers and sisters in Christ and how their walk with you encourages us. We are thankful that we get the benefit of ministering to one another, not just out of an obligation, but out of a sense of love. We rejoice to hear when others are doing well in the faith. Thank you for the grace of minister with a church that loves you and loves others well. Thank you for the grace of shepherding your flock. IN JESUS NAME, AMEN.
What did you take away from today’s reading? What are your thoughts or questions? Feel free to comment below and enter the discussion.