Category Archives: I Thessalonians

I won’t worry about the rest of it

I Thessalonians 2: 19-20

For what is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when he comes?  Is it not you?  Indeed, you are our glory and joy. NIV

Paul is so clear here.

The point of our life here on earth … the accomplishment for which we should be striving … is investment in others.  We are called to share Christ’s love and His message with our fellow man.

Nothing we accomplish independently — no trophy, no title — will mean anything in the hereafter.  The glory will be in those who join us there.

To keep that eternal perspective in our world is sometimes difficult.  We get bogged down in the day-to-day, in the expectations that others have for us.

If I can remember that what’s important is what God expects of me, I won’t worry about the rest of it.

That’s what I’ll think about today.

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Faith = Confidence

I Thessalonians 3:5

For this reason, when I could stand it no longer, I sent to find out about your faith.  I was afraid that in some way the tempter might have tempted you and our efforts might have been useless.  NIV

This is a continuation of the point that I looked at yesterday.  Paul is writing to the church at Thessalonica, which he has been unable to visit.  This was the verse that I originally found yesterday when I was searching The Message for the word, “worry.”

Paul says, “That’s why I couldn’t quit worrying; I had to know for myself how you were doing in the faith.  I didn’t want the Tempter getting to you and tearing down everything we had built together.” MSG

Everything we had built together …

Over the last several months, God and I have been hard at work.  I have learned so much.  I have grown so much.  I have needed this time to glimpse a corner of the plan that He has for me.  I don’t yet have all of the pieces of the puzzle, but, I am firmly grounded in Him … more firmly, perhaps, than I have ever been.

And yet, Paul points out that these kinds of experiences can be impermanent.

I don’t want that.

I don’t want to be disrupted and upset by the potholes that I find in my path … I don’t want to be stymied by the boulders that I might find there, either.

Instead, I will stand firm in my faith.  I will rely upon God.

Henry Blackaby says, “Faith is confidence that what God promised or said will come to pass.  Sight is the opposite of faith.  If you can clearly see how something can be accomplished, more than likely, faith is not required.”

Faith = Confidence.

That’s what I’ll think about today.

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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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