Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace. We give thanks to God always for all of you, constantly mentioning you in our prayers, remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction. You know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake. And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you received the word in much affliction, with the joy of the Holy Spirit, so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia. For not only has the word of the Lord sounded forth from you in Macedonia and Achaia, but your faith in God has gone forth everywhere, so that we need not say anything. For they themselves report concerning us the kind of reception we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come. 1 Thessalonians 1:1-10
How do you treat your fellow Christian? Not just the ones you like but also the ones who get on your nerves or maybe are struggling in their walk. We can learn a lot from how Paul treats the Christians in the early church. Today I start looking at Paul’s letters to the Thessalonians. Paul had founded the church in Thessalonica but had stayed there only a short time. Paul is writing to them to continue to encourage as well as tutor them in their new beliefs.
No matter if Paul is writing to a church to encourage or admonish he always starts with a greeting and lets them know that he is praying for them. He also encourages and praises those he is writing to. It makes me stop and think about how I treat my fellow Christians.
It is easy to pray for friends and those around me that I like but I find that I am often remiss when it comes to others. It is not that I have anything against them but I just do not seem to remember to include them in my prayers. I let myself get too caught up in the day to day.
Then I also think about a church in a small Latvian town that I was a part of a missionary trip to. The work we did in the two years we stayed in that town led to a now vibrant church. However I am remiss in including them in my prayers on a regular basis.
Not Paul, it seems that he regularly prayed for the churches he founded and the people he met. He wrote them letters to continue to encourage them long after he had left. I think that too often we are great about leading people to Christ but once they leave the water we leave also, on to the next convert.
It is the new Christian that needs us the most. They need the support from mature Christians so they do not slip back into their old habits. They need someone to help them with learning how to study the Bible and often how to pray. Most importantly they need our encouragement. When someone finally comes face to face with their sins it is easy to become discourage as they think about all they have done wrong. It is then they need to know that that is all truly behind them and has been wiped clean as if the sins had never happened.
I think we all need to spend some time evaluating how we pray for and nurture those around us. We need to be like Paul, as quick with our praise as with our correction, too often we a quick with the latter and too withholding with the former. I know I am.
Have a blessed day,