God Is at Work
Generous Giver God, today I want to spread light and not shadows, grace and not pain, love and not apathy.
Read 1 Thessalonians 2:1-16
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
Which characteristics of a faithful Christian worker given in this passage do you possess? Which do you want?
A missionary once said that he liked working in a place where there was little response because he knew that when people were converted it would clearly be God’s work and not his. This is Paul’s claim for the Thessalonians. There was so much against the success of Gospel preaching among them that their conversion was clearly a supernatural event. Paul had confidence that there was real power in the Gospel, so there was no need to trick people into believing (3). The openness of Paul’s way of working is a challenge to those who are so eager to get people into our churches that they water down the Gospel message or fail to present the challenge of discipleship. Even the reality of persecution did not stop the Thessalonians believing.
Paul’s pleasing of God, and not men (4), does not mean he was so concerned for his message that he did not value the Thessalonians as people. He can talk about how his love for them meant that his preaching ministry was accompanied with sacrificial service. He shared his life as well as his message. He worked to provide for his own material needs and exhibited the same care towards these not-yet-believing pagans that a parent would show towards their own children (7,8). Paul’s love for God and his love for people were never in opposition, but together commended the Gospel.
Our reading today, as yesterday, ends with the wrath of God (16). Yesterday Paul rejoiced that the Thessalonians had been rescued from it. Today he speaks of those who are under it because of their persecution of Christians. This puts his whole ministry in a very serious context. Gospel ministry is about saving people from the wrath of God, thanks to the death of Jesus on our behalf.
Who has been a positive influence on you for godly living? How so? How can you be a positive influence for someone this week?
Lord, give me such an understanding of both Your wrath and Your Good News that I can become a life-giving source to those around me.
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