Wednesday, July 16, 2008

SOAP - 7/16/08 (1 Thess 3:6-10)


1 Thessalonians 3:6-10

"But now that Timothy has come to us from you, and has brought us the good news of your faith and love and reported that you always remember us kindly and long to see us, as we long to see you--for this reason, brothers, in all our distress and affliction we have been comforted about you through your faith. For now we live, if you are standing fast in the Lord. For what thanksgiving can we return to God for you, for all the joy that we feel for your sake before our God, as we pray most earnestly night and day that we may see you face to face and supply what is lacking in faith?"

The verse that stood out to me was verse 7 "for this reason, brothers, in all our distress and affliction we have been comforted about you through your faith."



"But now Timothy is back with us and has brought us very encouraging news concerning your faith and love. He tells us that you think about us always and long to see us, and we long to see you. I can't tell you how much this news is comforting us during our trial here. Knowing that you are standing fast in the Lord makes it all the more bearable and gives us reason to keep going. How can we thank God anymore then to continue on? You have brought us great joy! We continue to pray for you always, and we pray that we might finally be able to come to you so that if you are lacking in faith over our troubles we may be able to put such unfaithfulness to an end."

What's God saying?

When you do something that you feel is important you want to see a return in some way. For the person who invests his life in building a business he will want to see it grow and make money. The person who invests their life in helping others wants to see not only people benefiting but their lives being changed. It is no different when it comes to the Gospel. In fact, those who invest themselves in spreading the good news see it as being the most important and life changing message anyone could ever hear.

Here is Paul and his companions facing some sort of trouble. I can only assume that the trouble has to be a result of their passion to spread the good news about Jesus. (I did a little research...Acts 17-18. Paul had been in Thessalonica on his second missionary trip. He went from there to Berea then to Athens and then to Corinth. He sent Timothy to the Thessalonians when he himself was in Athens and Timothy came back while he was in Corinth. While in Corinth he was seized and brought before Gallio who was the proconsul of Achaia. He probably wrote this letter during this time.) What was going through Paul's mind? We think of Paul as the "Super Apostle" who would never let anything get in his way or discourage him, but Paul was a man. I think he might have been frustrated. Was all this worth it? Ealier God had told him to "not be afraid, but go on speaking and do not be silent, for I am with you, and no one will attack you to harm you" and here he was in trouble. Did God go against his own words? (We find out that Gallio wanted nothing to do with Paul and so he eventually lets him go.) Paul had to have been discouraged to say the least.

If I were in this situation what would it take to encourage me? I'd be wondering if I really was devoting my life to the right thing. I'd be asking myself if I was really making a difference. Paul had already been worrying about those he left in Thessalonia. If I were him and recieved the news that they abandoned the faith would it tip the scales in favor of quitting? This was a critical moment in Paul's life as a missionary for God!

The greatest encouragement would be to hear exactly what Paul heard. Those he had left in Thessalonica (and he left them rather abruptly, Acts 17:1-9) were continuing with their faith. This made what he was going through worth it.

People need to be encouraged by seeing fruit resulting from their labor.

What is God saying to me?

Looking at if from a different perspective, who in my life has dedicated themselves to developing me as a Christian and a servant of Christ? My grandmother who took my spiritual developement into her hands until my dad remarried. My mother who made sure we were involved in church and who set an example when it came to time with God. My youth leaders when I was in youth group. Pastor Mark who really started my discipleship. Mr. Mac who was my missions professor and mentor in college. Pastor Walt who taught me much of what I know about ministry today. These are all people who have invested their lives in helping others.

Do these people get discouraged? Do they ever wonder if they made a difference? Do they think about quitting? I imagine they do. They are only human. They need to be encouraged, but how can I encourage them? By staying in touch with them. Letting them know that their work in me wasn't in vain. Letting them continue to see God working in and through my life. It is interesting how a little encouragement goes.

I hope and pray that I will always have those people I have invested myself in encouraging me through allowing me to see God working in them. It really does make all the difference. It gives meaning to what I have dedicated my life to.


I made a committment yesterday to get in touch with all the college students that have been a part of this ministry at KCC. I have been doing that, and it has been good. New names come to mind all the time. Now I am making a commitment to getting in touch with those people who have been influential in my life and letting them know how much I appreciate their dedication to God. I want to show them what is happening in my life as a result. I would like to do this by the end of the month.


Father, your plan is a perfect plan. Your nature exemplifies fellowship. It shows us the importance of being in long-term relationships here on earth. May I be an encouragement to those who have invested their lives into me. Help me to continually be encouraged as I keep in touch with those whom I have invested my life into. You neve leave or forsake me, please help me to be the same. I love you Lord. Thank you for your word. Thank you for teaching me. Thank you for listenening to my prayer.

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