Encourage others

I Thessalonians 3:2-3

We sent Timothy, who is our brother and God’s fellow worker in spreading the gospel of Christ, to strengthen and encourage you in your faith, so that no one would be unsettled by these trials.  You know quite well that we were destined for them. NIV

Paul has been detained.  He has been unable to visit the church to whom he is writing, and so he has sent Timothy to them, “so that no one would be unsettled by these trials.”

Trials are unsettling … whether you are going through them yourself, or whether they are assaulting someone you love.

I remember the first time someone I knew lost a parent.  I was in my early 20s, and a young man who worked two cubicles over from me got a call and learned that his mother had died.  We were all unsettled by it.  None of us in the office knew what to do or say … he was the first in our circle to face this terrible loss.  After he left that day, I sat down and cried, and cried.  I did not know the man well, and I had never met his mother, but, the situation brought me face-to-face with a loss that I would one day experience … a trouble that I could anticipate.  I was wholly unprepared for it.  It was more than unsettling.

I found that I was so distracted and upset by the thought of losing my parents that work became quite challenging that afternoon.

It was a loss that I could anticipate, and, I could have spent the next decade or two worrying about it, instead of enjoying the fellowship of my wonderful parents, which I am still privileged to do today.

So, I think that’s really Paul’s point here.

Our work here on earth is important.  We are to be spreading the Gospel … we are to be serving others and advancing the kingdom.  If we are worried and distracted over earthly troubles, or over the thought of troubles that might come, we will be far less effective in our work.  Paul knew that this was a danger with this church, so, he sent Timothy to encourage them.

Encouragement is a theme that seems to run throughout his writings.  Encourage others.

Do God’s work.  Trust God.  Be obedient to Him.  Listen to Him. Glorify Him. Encourage others.

All of these are lessons that I’m learning from this project … all of them are antidotes for worry.

That’s what I’ll think about today.

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Filed under I Thessalonians, New Testament

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