1-thessalonians-2

1 Thessalonians 2

Today’s reading is from 1 Thessalonians 2.

The Bible describes us Christians as “sheep” and he has provided “shepherds” to give us the spiritual guidance and leadership we need. Some men are attracted to ministry, however, because they like the power over people’s lives that being a pastor or elder brings. Power is important and necessary for leadership, but some men may be tempted to use that power to abuse the people who are under their authority.

Here in 1 Thessalonians 2 Paul continued describing his ministry and relationship with the Thessalonians. After reminding them about their salvation in chapter 1, here in chapter 2 he reminds them of what he was like when he served among them. Paul and his team were not manipulative (vv. 3-4), they did not “butter them up” with flattery in order to extract money from the Thessalonians (v. 5) and they did not serve for the praise of men (v. 6). Instead, Paul reminded the Thessalonian believers that they were innocent like children (v. 7a) and cared for them like a nursing mother cares for her child (v. 8). This kind of loving tenderness is the example to follow for any of us who serve the Lord in leadership. As a parent, an AWANA leader or teacher in one of our other children’s ministries, a Calvary Class teacher or small group leader, or as an elder in our church, what goes through your mind when you think about serving his people in our congregation? Are you looking for their respect? Do you want them to fear you or love you? In other words, is your service about you or is it about them? Let this passage cause you to examine your motives about how and why you do ministry, then ask the Lord for the kind of nurturing heart toward the people you’re serving that a mother has toward her nursing infant.

Leviticus 8, Psalm 9, Proverbs 23, 1 Thessalonians 2

If you’re following the schedule, you should read these chapters today: Leviticus 8, Psalm 9, Proverbs 23, 1 Thessalonians 2. Click on any of those references to see all the passages in one long page on BibleGateway. If you can't do all the readings today, read 1 Thessalonians 2.

Paul had a great relationship with the church at Thessalonica, unlike his relationship with some of the other churches he started. In yesterday’s reading from 1 Thessalonians 1 Paul described how they received the gospel from him and how they began spreading that gospel in their region. Today’s reading in 1 Thessalonians 2 described his first contact with the Thessalonians in more personal terms. Verses 1-7 stated how Paul and his companions came to Thessalonica after suffering persecution in Philippi (vv. 1-2a). Despite “strong opposition” (v. 2b) they spoke the gospel plainly and clearly to the Thessalonians without trying to enhance it for human acceptance with “error or impure motives” (v. 3a), tricks (v. 3b), people-pleasing (v. 4b), flattery (v. 5a), or a hypocritical face to cover up greed (v. 5b). And yet, he said, “our visit was not without results” (v. 1). In other words, some in Thessalonica received the gospel “as it actually is, the word of God” (v. 13). It was from that time forward “at work in you who believe” (v. 14b). This is such a rebuke to many "ministries" in our day. Instead of giving the uncorrupted, unadorned gospel, many churches have turned to entertainment and gimmicks in order to get results. I read recently of a church that had their band perform the song “Highway to Hell” on Easter Sunday. That may have gotten the attention and approval of some in their audience, but it did not bring glory to God. Living for God and giving his gospel requires us to guard the message from corruption and to deliver the message in a way that is “worthy of God” (v. 12). Since we believe that salvation is his gift of life delivered to those who hear and believe his word, we should do nothing more than faithfully, clearly, and consistently deliver the message. God will bless his word; there will be “results” (v.1)—as God sees fit to deliver them.

Now for your thoughts: What stood out in your Bible reading for today? What questions do you have about what you read? What are your thoughts about what I wrote above? Post them in the comments below or on our Facebook page. And, feel free to answer and interact with the questions and comments of others. Have a great day; we'll talk scripture again tomorrow.