Have you felt like giving up lately? What keeps you going? I must be a meaningful relationship that encourages you and you care to cultivate. When someone becomes ‘very dear’ to you, as the Thessalonians had to Paul, it becomes natural to share life’s joys and struggles with them (2.8). A good relationship can ‘spark off’ but strong, significant and lasting ones take time to build and maintain. Here, great need can cause tremendous growth. What does this investment look like? Paul paints 4 pictures for us that help us serve together and not give up in tough times:
1. A Consistent Steward (2:1–6)
The basic, essential requirement of a steward is to be faithful with regard to: (a) The Message: Guarding the Gospel (b) Ministry: Serving Christ’s body (c) Members: Caring for God’s family. Trustworthy stewards willingly endure hardship. They use honest methods with pure motives, never for personal gain. Paul gave praise publicly where due but didn’t fall for flattery.
2. A Caring Mother (2:7–8)
Paul gave himself in the service to others like a ‘nursing mother’ (2:7). We must offer younger disciples TLC (Tender, Loving Care). It is crucial we feed new believers with milk and honey (1Pet.2:2; Psa. 119:3) before they can help themselves with bread and meat (Mt.4:4; 1Cor 3:1-4)
3. A Concerned Father (2:9–16)
Paul perceived the problem in “Bible” churches when he chided: “You have many instructors or teachers but few fathers!” (1Cor.4:15). Children are looking for heroes. If their fathers aren’t spiritual role models, they find them, often in the wrong places! Fathers lead by example, not force. With sacrifice, hard-earned money (2:6) and tough love, they both warn and encourage.
4. A Compassionate Brother (2:17–20)
The local church is a fellowship of “brothers and sisters” where service time is family time. The word com-passion literally means “to suffer with”. So, when away from church, Paul felt like an “orphan”! So he prayed for, corresponded with and couldn’t wait to see his family again. There was someOne else Paul and all true believers loved and long to see again – their Lord Jesus!
Conclusion: Indian Take Away,..
Think: What an honor and privilege to be a trustee of the Gospel that changes people forever!
Q: In what ways do you ‘love on’ new attendees and nurture younger disciples at our church?
A mentor has gone where you want to go and can help you get there! Do you have one? Why?
What’s the best way to be ready for Christ’s 2nd coming? – Keep loving, and serving one another!