GOOD AND FAITHFUL SERVANT
“In Love’s service, only wounded soldiers can serve”
Without any ulterior motives and in great suffering, Paul, along with Silas and Timothy, presented himself as one of the greatest examples of what it means to be a servant of Jesus Christ. His passion for ministering to the people of Thessalonica was simply out of a desire to please God, not man. With affection, gentleness, and a love for souls, Paul was determined, unlike many self proclaimed ministers in his day, to teach the gospel out of a pure heart. He refused to cram the Word of God down the throats of listeners, but instead, shared the Good News with the tenderness and care that good fathers have towards their young children. Paul did not minister out of duty or obligation; his work was far more than that. Even after suffering persecution in the city of Philippi before traveling to Thessalonica (Acts 16:22-24), Paul taught with the same passion and energy that he had in times past. Just like Paul, we are called to share God’s Word with those who don’t know it. This is done most effectively when we practice what we preach, do it out of a desire to please God only, and preach it with love, encouragement, and an attitude of selflessness.
1 Thessalonians 2:19 For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Is it not even you in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming?
1 Thessalonians 2:
For you yourselves know, brethren, that our coming to you was not in vain. 2 But even after we had suffered before and were spitefully treated at Philippi, as you know, we were bold in our God to speak to you the gospel of God in much conflict. 3 For our exhortation did not come from error or uncleanness, nor was it in deceit. 4 But as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, even so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God who tests our hearts. 5 For neither at any time did we use flattering words, as you know, nor a cloak for covetousness—God is witness. 6 Nor did we seek glory from men, either from you or from others, when we might have made demands as apostles of Christ. 7 But we were gentle among you, just as a nursing mother cherishes her own children. 8 So, affectionately longing for you, we were well pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God, but also our own lives, because you had become dear to us. 9 For you remember, brethren, our labor and toil; for laboring night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, we preached to you the gospel of God. 10 You are witnesses, and God also, how devoutly and justly and blamelessly we behaved ourselves among you who believe; 11 as you know how we exhorted, and comforted, and charged every one of you, as a father does his own children, 12 that you would walk worthy of God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory; 13 For this reason we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe. 14 For you, brethren, became imitators of the churches of God which are in Judea in Christ Jesus. For you also suffered the same things from your own countrymen, just as they did from the Judeans, 15 who killed both the Lord Jesus and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they do not please God and are contrary to all men, 16 forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they may be saved, so as always to fill up the measure of their sins; but wrath has come upon them to the uttermost. 17 But we, brethren, having been taken away from you for a short time in presence, not in heart, endeavored more eagerly to see your face with great desire. 18 Therefore we wanted to come to you—even I, Paul, time and again—but Satan hindered us. 19 For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Is it not even you in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming? 20 For you are our glory and joy.
Jesus, I thank You for the opportunity to know Your truth and have a relationship with You. Please teach me how to be a good and faithful servant in Your Kingdom. Give me a burden for those who don’t know you, and help me to share Your Word and love with them. I want my life to reflect who You are; please show me how to do this at the store, on my job, and wherever else I go. Make my heart pure and help me to serve You not out of duty or obligation, but out of a love relationship with You. You are awesome! I thank You for Your help!
THOUGHTS…INSIGHT…What is the Lord saying to me?
- Name some of the examples Paul gives in this chapter, that prove he was not ministering to the Thessalonians out of the wrong motives.
- Read Acts 16:16-24. Describe the suffering Paul and Silas endured as a result of ministering to the people at Philippi, before coming to Thessalonica.
- Suffering can either strengthen the burden that we have to minister in the Kingdom of God, or it can take us out completely, if we allow it. Describe a time that you experienced suffering or persecution while living for God. Tell of why you’re still living for Him and how it has or currently is strengthening your passion for Him.
- Why is it important to do our best to please God and not men, as we serve in the church and share the Good News?
- Why is it important to practice what we preach? How does this affect the people who we come in contact with on a daily basis?
- Give examples of how we can walk homily, justly, and unblameably in our everyday lives.
- In verse 11, Paul shares how he exhorted, comforted, and charged the people, as a father does his children. Give examples of how we can do this ourselves, when ministering to others.
- Paul gives thanks in verse 13 of this chapter. What is he thankful for and why is this so significant?
- Paul identifies with the sufferings and persecutions of the people in verse 14. How does suffering in like persecutions strengthen our bond with one another? Share a time when you were able to relate to the sufferings of a fellow Christian. How did it rectify your relationship?
- Making Heaven our home is a great reason to rejoice. In verse 19, Paul shares another reason for rejoicing. What is this reason? What would cause you to be excited in the presence of God, in addition to going to Heaven?