1 Thessalonians 3.6-10

Do you remember being deeply concerned about your children?  They were away for a night out with their friends.  Maybe they were away at camp for a week.  Perhaps they spent their first sleep over with longtime friends.  Fretting was uncomfortable.  It wore on your patience.  Your mind played through several scenarios and you did not like the feelings of insecurity.

You did what every good parent would do.  Your lip bled when you bit it, your spouse returned concerned glances and when they finally opened the front door and came in with smiles and laughter you were delightfully relieved.  Silly worries were for naught.

Love for others drives us to extend the comfort and concern of our spirit to surround those very special lives.  True love wants to protect.  It will and always will be that way.  Yes, it makes us uncomfortable, but that is the nature of love.

Paul felt that way about the Christians in Thessalonica.  They were his spiritual children.  He knew that they were in danger. Persecution against Christians was intensifying in that day.  It was in fact a spiritual battle against the Tempter.

The Apostle was so concerned about the state of the Thessalonians’ faith that he dispatched Timothy to check on them.  He was starving for news of their spiritual well-being.  Yes, the pain of persecution was a concern but he was more concerned over the strength of their spiritual faith.

Timothy had returned with good news.  Paul was elated that their faith remained strong.  His investment in their spiritual lives was intact.  There is no mention of their physical or economic condition.  What was important was their spiritual health during a volatile and dangerous time.  Their faith and love were the highlights of Timothy’s encouraging report on their condition.

A bonus in Timothy’s report must have made the Apostle smile.  This emissary brought up the personal relationship that he had with these people.  They missed him.  Timothy conveyed their strong desire to see him.  It was a longing that was equally shared among them for each other.

The ardent faith of the Thessalonian Christians encouraged the Apostle Paul.  Also note that the intense desire for a face to face fellowship was mutual. Not only did Paul love them, they also loved him.  Even through the hardships of persecution, knowledge of their mutual love gave the apostle strength to persevere through those difficult times.

Paul was not simply stooping to hollow flattery.  He meant it when he confirmed that the faith of these followers of Jesus gave him strength to weather the trials of great suffering.  The joy in times of trouble was virtually indescribable to Paul.

Experiencing God more deeply than ever was a result of his investment into their spiritual lives and witnessing the long lasting stability in their commitment.  The apostle continued to pray for these dear friends.  That spontaneous prayer was an outpouring of his devotion to them.

The Christian life is simple.  Once a person is born again by God’s grace through faith, a journey begins.  It is a spiritual pilgrimage.

This journey is about maturing in faith and bearing good spiritual fruit.  Part of that fruit is impacting the lives of others.  This impact is a mixture of being a witness for Christ and helping others grow in their new found faith.

The lives of others make our life worth living.  When we connect through a spiritual relationship and invest in each other’s lives, we gain something that money can never buy.  It is a fellowship that defines who we are and what gives us the most satisfaction in life.

LAPP (Life Application): Have you invested spiritually in the lives of others?  Take a moment to check into their lives and ask how their walk of faith is going.  Tell them how much they mean to you and that you are deeply encouraged that their faith is growing strong.