Thursday, July 3, 2008

SOAP Study - 7/3/08 (1 Thess 2:9-12)


1 Thessalonians 2:9-12

"For you remember, brothers, our labor and toil: we worked night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, while we proclaimed to you the gospel of God. You are witnesses, and God also, how holy and righteous and blameless was our conduct toward you believers. For you know how, like a father with his children, we exhorted each of one of you and encouraged you and charged you to walk in a manner worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory."



"You can remember that we were very concerned about not coming across as freeloaders. While telling you about God's good news we worked both night and day right along side of you as not to be a burden. You, and God, can testify to our actions. We tried to be as holy, righteous and blameless in our relationship with you as possible. Remember how we treated you. We treated you like a father should treat his child. We taught you what was right, we encouraged you to do right and we held you accountable in doing the right that is worthy of God. This is the same God who has given you a place in His kingdom and who has shared His glory with you."

What is God saying?

Once again, what an incredible example Paul had set. I think what is really cool about Paul is his humility. I know of pastors and other professional church leaders who expect to be treated in a special way. If it happened to Paul you would never know. He could have gone to the Thessalonians and allowed them to take care of him while he was sharing the Gospel with them, but he didn't. In fact he added to his credibility.

I think humans are naturally skeptical. There always seems to be a catch to something. When Paul came to the Thessalonians I imagine many of them felt the same way. For Paul and his companions to come with no strings attached, meaning they came and didn't expect their needs to be taken care of but, instead they worked just like everyone else to meet their needs, this just added to their credibility. They were there to do exactly what they had come to do. They came to share the Gospel.

Not only did they work to meet their own needs, but the way they treated the Thessalonians spoke volumes. During that time I am sure people were used to being bossed around. Rome was a military government. She had soldiers everywhere. People had a certain amount of freedom, but on the other hand they knew how to obey. Paul and his companions didn't come in lording it over them. Twice now Paul has used the illustration of a parent with their child. Paul and his companions weren't there just to give them a new message, but they were there to build relationships as well.

What is God saying to me?

It is real easy to approach ministry like any other job. You come in everyday at set hours and do what needs to be done, and the bare minimum at that. Those who do ministry like this are not doing ministry at all. They are doing a job. Paul could have gone to Thessalonia and said "Okay God, I'm going to tell these people about you just like you said and then we are moving on." Paul wasn't doing a job though. He was doing ministry.

I have to remember that this isn't a job, it is ministry. Yes it does involve aspects of a job but the end result is different. If I look at my ministry as only a way to get a paycheck then I shouldn't be in ministry. I have to see it has transforming people's lives. It is building relationships. It is being a mother, father, brother, friend to those around me. It is helping others become more like Christ.


This is definitely an encouraging study. Passages like this are encouraging me to do ministry the way it should be done. One thing I have not done yet is make my list of people to pray for. I really need to do this. I know that if I really pray for these people that God will give me a true desire for them, but I have to really pray for them. What I mean is, I can't just pray generic prayers for them. I have to know what is going on in their lives and I really need to pray accordingly.

This also means I need to take interest in their lives. I am horrible at listening and forgetting. I can't tell you how many times someone has told me something about their lives and the next time I talk to them I have completely forgotten what they had said. Bad habit for a person in ministry. I really need to take an interest in people's lives and remember what they have told me.


Once again, I am guilty of being more concerned with myself then with others. I would ask that you help me in two ways. First, please help me to view my ministry here at KCC as a ministry and not a job. Help me keep focused on what is important. Help me help others become more like you. Second, please help me to take an active interest in people's lives. I really suffer from the inability to remember things people have told me. Holy Spirit, please help me to put people at the forefront of my mind. Help me to pray for the important things concerning their lives. Overall, please help me to be the minister you have designed me to be. I am in desperate need of you. Thank you for hearing my prayer.

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