As Paul wrote to the young Thessalonian church regarding his work among them, which “turned the world upside down” (Acts 17:6), he reminded them of three essential aspects of their new life – their “work of faith, labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.” While Paul’s main intention in this letter was to clarify his teaching regarding our Lord’s return, he began by commending them for their steadfastness as followers of Jesus in the face of many troubles.
The Word spread from Thessalonica throughout Macedonia to Achaia and beyond by what visitors to this center of commerce saw in the lives of these new Christians, not by what they heard from them. Their “example” spoke louder than words, causing Paul to write, “We do not need to say anything” (1 Th. 1:7-8).
What was seen that made these Thessalonian believers such good examples to others? It was their “work of faith” – they received Christ as Savior and “turned to God from idols.” It was their “labor of love” – He became their Lord and they wanted “to serve” Him as “the living and true God.” It was their “patience of hope” – they knew Jesus had been “raised from the dead” and were sure that He’d deliver them “from the wrath to come” (1 Th. 1:9-10).
Can as much be seen in us? Are we practicing what we preach – that He’s our Savior and Lord – in such a way that it can be said of us, “You became examples to all … who believe” (1 Th. 1:7)? Are we turning even a small part of our world upside down with evidence of our faith, love and hope in our Savior and Lord?
Let’s pray that we become better ambassadors for Christ (2 Cor. 5:20) – doers of the Word, not just hearers (Jas. 1:22).
By Larry Ondrejack
With permission to publish by: Sam Hadley, Grace & Truth, 210 Chestnut St., Danville, IL., USA. Website: www.gtpress.org