On Sunday night, Mickey preached on 1 Thessalonians 2:13-3:10. Michele, a member of the 6pm congregation, reflects on what we heard, and how it might start to apply.
Even though I do possess a certain fondness for things like cheesecake, hardback books, and my cozy mustard yellow sweater, I suppose it isn’t entirely accurate to use that word when expressing my preference for them.
That’s why the sermon on 1 Thessalonians 2:13-3:10 this past Sunday (which I didn’t listen to in the bath) made me want to think more about what love actually is.
In the previous weeks, we learned about how Paul really laboured and toiled night and day in order to proclaim the gospel of God to the Thessalonians (1 Thess 2:9), and cared for them as a father would his children (1 Thess 2:11). Not only that, but we also learn that — after being torn away from them (1 Thess 2:17) — he eagerly longed to see them again so that he could make sure they were still going strong in their faith (1 Thess 3:5). Paul’s longing for them was so great that when he couldn’t bear it any longer he had to send Timothy to check up on the Thessalonians so that he could be put out of his misery (1 Thess 3:6).
Now that’s love.
While I do care deeply for the girls in my IGG group, I wish I could say that I loved them and cared for their spiritual welfare as much as Paul did for the Thessalonians. It’s tough to love this much! If we looked to our own pitiful ability to love others, I doubt any of us would get very far. I know I certainly wouldn’t. So how is this done then? How can we possibly love other people with such genuine sincerity and intensity?
Mickey very helpfully pointed out that Paul does not have an individualistic view when it comes to being a Christian. Paul’s joy rests in the hope that he might be able to share eternity in Christ with the Thessalonians (1 Thess 2:19-20). This is a family affair.
What’s going to make heaven such a great place to be?
It’ll be because God is there, and we’ll get to spend eternity with our brothers and sisters in Christ. Our expectation of eternity is bound up by the presence of the people in our lives now.
It’s all about the company!
Paul’s mindset is focused on eternity and based on his confidence in the power of God’s word to change people’s eternities (1 Thess 2:13).
I pray God would grant us this supernatural ability to love other this much so that we might enjoy the privilege of sharing in his work.