Good Morning! Looking again today at I Thessalonians 2, I want to direct your attention to verse eleven. Paul likens his balanced ministry to a father with his children, “As ye know how we exhorted and comforted and charged every one of you, as a father doth his children.” I know that not everyone has the privilege of growing up with a godly father who expressed his love and guided his children. But, there is nothing sweeter than a close parent-child relationship. My 12-year-old son, Justin, still comes in to say good night to me. I would not trade anything for the time we spend together, talking about the things of God, praying for each other and for God’s work in our church and our lives. I have never seen a parent shout and berate a child into good behavior. But, I have seen patience and love work amazing transformations. This is true with all relationships. You are not going to shout anybody into getting right with God. You are not going to criticize anybody into getting right with God. You are not going to insult anyone into getting right with God. Remember, the “goodness of God leadeth [them] to repentance.”
When working with people, Paul reminds us in verse 12, “That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you into his kingdom and glory.” This is the vision that Paul and others had when they first came to Thessalonica; it had a vision that was “eternal”. Why do people do ministry? Why should we disciple others? Sadly, some people do it for personal, selfish reasons. Paul said, “I want you to know that our vision for you is that you walk worthy of the vocation in which God has called to you; worthy of His kingdom; worthy of His glory.” Oftentimes, our efforts to help people with the truth of this Word are curtailed and hindered because we lose sight of the eternal nature of our purpose. Paul and his team started out focused on the long-term goal, and they kept that focus no matter what else was going on around them.
After all is said and done, it really is not about our comfort. It is not really about changing people to benefit us or even ultimately to benefit them. It is ultimately for Him.
The church in Thessalonica was not just great while Paul and Silas and others were there, because those people were not focused on pleasing Paul and others. They were not just “toeing the line” because someone, a spiritual leader, a mentor was overseeing them. They caught a vision that they could walk worthy of the vocation that God has called them fulfill. How do we “minister” when no one is looking? We must walk worthy. It is absolutely essential, but it will never happen unless we continually work in this matter of blending and balancing our mercy and truth in presenting God’s Word to others. Your ministry, whether to an entire church or a single individual, will succeed to the extent that it matches this pattern established by Paul and his team. Let us all learn from their example.
Have a wonderful day IN the Lord!
Dr. Paul A. Kingsbury