Take some time to slow down and read the verse that I put above.
In our bible study last week, we slowly ready through the first chapters of 1 Thessalonians. We looked at the character of Paul..what does he know, what does he see, and what does he do. Paul is someone that we can learn from as we seek to live missionally in our daily lives. We looked at these chapters in terms of how we can live and serve in the next culture that we are a part of. However, a challenge..and a call by our Father..is that we should be living for Christ everyday. Have you ever heard someone say that you are a missionary wherever you are? Well, you are! Let’s look closer at Paul’s missionary life as we seek to be missionaries wherever we are.
In chapter 1, Paul writes passionately to the believers in Thessalonica, telling them how much he thanks God for them and prays for them. Paul’s life is characterized by his love for the people that He lived among, and he encourages them to keep on living for God. In verse 6, Paul talks about how they imitated the life of the Lord and of them..which means that Paul was living a life to be modeled.
Application for us: Wherever we live and work, are we passionate about the people that we live and work among? First of all, are we a part of other people’s lives? If not, get to know the people around you. Secondly, are we praying and thanking God for the people around us? Are we living a life- in words and deeds- that is pleasing to God..and therefore a life that other people would see and desire to model their life after?
In chapter 2, Paul refers to how they boldly shared the Gospel with the people of Thessalonica, even though they faced great opposition. Paul comments that their purpose is to please God, not people. Paul talks about loving people as a nursing mother (and a few verses later..) and loving the people as a father treats his children. Paul says that his reward when he stands before Christ is the believers.
Application for us: Are we sharing the Gospel with people that we encounter? Believers and nonbelievers alike need to hear the truth of the Gospel. In regards to living a life pleasing to God and not people, how much of our inner thoughts deal with what others think of us? Sadly, I think most of us wouldn’t want to admit the frequency of our thoughts about other’s opinions. Paul encourages us that only God’s view of us matters. God alone knows our heart. Think for yourself about how selfless, gentle, patient, and delighted a nursing mother is to her child. As you see other people, do you look at them like a nursing mother would look at her child? And what about the love of a father for his children? As you look at people, do you see their potential and love/encourage/motivate them to do their best? AND OUR HOPE, JOY, AND REWARD is the believers that we know are standing firm in the faith! Part of our joy is knowing that other believers are standing firm in the faith! Do you find joy and hope in that?
To conclude, Paul talks about how much he loved the people, shared the Gospel with them, and lived among them. Could missionary life be summed up like that? I think so.
We must all wake up daily and intentionally live for God. In our deeds and actions, we can live for Christ. Or we can blend in with the world. My prayer for you and me is that we are choosing to live for Christ everyday.