A SEA OF TROUBLES
Father, help me to set aside all of the distractions in my mind and heart so that I can focus on what you have for me in your Word today.
Read 1 THESSALONIANS 2:1–12
Paul’s Ministry in Thessalonica
2 You know, brothers and sisters, that our visit to you was not without results. 2 We had previously suffered and been treated outrageously in Philippi, as you know, but with the help of our God we dared to tell you his gospel in the face of strong opposition. 3 For the appeal we make does not spring from error or impure motives, nor are we trying to trick you. 4 On the contrary, we speak as those approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please people but God, who tests our hearts. 5 You know we never used flattery, nor did we put on a mask to cover up greed—God is our witness. 6 We were not looking for praise from people, not from you or anyone else, even though as apostles of Christ we could have asserted our authority. 7 Instead, we were like young children[a] among you.
Just as a nursing mother cares for her children, 8 so we cared for you. Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well. 9 Surely you remember, brothers and sisters, our toil and hardship; we worked night and day in order not to be a burden to anyone while we preached the gospel of God to you. 10 You are witnesses, and so is God, of how holy, righteous and blameless we were among you who believed. 11 For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, 12 encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory.
- 1 Thessalonians 2:7 Some manuscripts were gentle
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectI hope you have never been treated as badly as Paul was. But what troubles are you facing? What persecution for your faith do you see in your daily life?
Paul continued his mission despite being in physical danger almost everywhere he went (v. 2). Yet passages like this suggest that what hurt—more than very real sticks and stones—were the words and false accusations he faced from the churches he planted. Read verses 3 – 6 and 9 again. What do you think Paul had been accused of by the way he responded?
‘You know,’ he wrote (vv. 1, 2, 5, 11); ‘Surely you remember’ (v. 9); ‘You are witnesses’ (v. 10). He countered the accusations by reminding them of the truth: that he loved them (vv. 7, 8) and worked hard not to be a burden, so he could offer the gospel free of charge (v. 9). As the Thessalonians’ love was proven by their actions, so was Paul’s.
Look again over the passage to see the different familial phrases and pictures Paul used. His motivation was to build God’s family, which is why he kept going despite everything, why his love was so passionate—and why the hurt cut so deep.
Paul and his companions gave everything; they were willing to suffer terribly—physically and emotionally—for the sake of sharing the gospel. Is there a situation where you would love to share the gospel, but too often give in to your fear and stay silent?
Mighty God, thank you that your power is made known in my weakness. Help me to trust you for everything I need in serving you.
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