It might be the start of a new season, or the fact that it’s my birthday month, for some reason, I always associate September as a yearly refresh or like a 2nd opportunity for new resolutions. I just started studying 1 Thessalonians during my morning alone time with God and the first chapter has already started speaking to my heart. It’s brought conviction, clarity, and inspiration that has definitely fed into my desire for a little self-change or evaluation.
This letter was written to the church of Thessolinica from Paul, a servant and one of the most influential leaders of the early Christian church, as an encouragement to the believers that were undergoing some serious persecution. Yes, this book of the Bible is actually a letter and I often forget that most New Testament books are.. so when you change your perspective that this was a letter written to specific people during a specific time, it can change everything you thought about it before.
Right off the bat, Paul is encouraging and praising them for their perseverance that they’ve had thus far. He writes, “We give thanks to God always for all of you, constantly mentioning you in our prayers, remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.” I don’t know about you but if someone were to recognize that about me and write me a letter with that much intentionality when I was in the midst of some troubling times, I would BREAK DOWN. I would probably have to grab a few tissues before I continued reading. When I was reading those first couple of sentences I was thinking “Wow. What a legacy.” Work of Faith. Labor of Love. Steadfastness of Hope.
Isn’t that something that you want people to say about your legacy? I’m not trying to get all dark here, but at the end of your life, what do you want people to say about you? What are you doing now that is going to contribute to your legacy? I’ve been asking myself these questions recently and the Lord has been pointing to certain things in my life that I need to step in to and to step away from. Stepping in to things that are pleasing to Him, giving Him glory, and leaving a lasting joy within. Stepping away from things that are self-glorifying and a short earthly satisfaction. May we be imitators of the selfless servants and leaders that came before us, leaving themselves behind, and propelling the greatest love and message a person can hear.
“For we know, brothers and sisters loved by God, that he has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not simply with words but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and deep conviction. You know how we lived among you for your sake. You became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you welcomed the message in the midst of severe suffering with the joy given by the Holy Spirit. And so you became a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia. The Lord’s message rang out from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia—your faith in God has become known everywhere. Therefore we do not need to say anything about it, for they themselves report what kind of reception you gave us. They tell how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead—Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath.”