Discover His heart: He calls us to nurture and care for His young ones
“We always thank God for all of you and pray for you constantly. As we pray to our God and Father about you, we think of your faithful work, your loving deeds, and the enduring hope you have because of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1:2-3) Paul loved his children. Well, at least we know he loved his spiritual children. Almost two years earlier Paul had started a church in Thessalonica but had to leave the city abruptly because of hostility from the Jewish leaders (Acts 17). He sent Timothy back to the city to check up on this new congregation because he was anxious to hear how they were standing up under the Jewish opposition. After receiving Timothy’s report, Paul immediately responded with a letter of encouragement and counsel to his dear ones in the church in Thessalonica.
@ I Thessalonians 2
Paul’s demonstration of his love and commitment to this new church reminds me of my feelings after the birth of my newborn baby girl. I found myself constantly checking up on her, feeling for the rise and fall of her little chest, inspecting those diapers, just wanting to be sure she was okay. You see, I just loved her so much, and I needed to know that all was well with her. With similar feelings, Paul wrote, “We were like a mother feeding and caring for her own children. We loved you so much that we shared with you not only God’s Good News but our own lives, too.” (7-8) He loved these new ones in the faith and wanted to encourage them and help them grow in the Lord
This causes me to think about the new Christians I encounter in my walk each day, whether at church, in the neighborhood or on the job, and I think about how much God loves them and wants to see that all is well with them. Many are filled with questions about their new faith, and some even face persecution for their decision just as the Thessalonians did. They really need our encouragement and help.
Of course, just as Satan hindered Paul’s attempt to visit this church (18), the enemy will discourage us from helping new Christians. He would love for us to feel inadequate or too time-pressed to be of any help to them. Just as my baby daughter did not need constant professional tending, these young ones in the Lord do not need a theologian. They just need someone to check up on them and guide them along as they grow in Him.
Well, my newborn baby girl is now grown and a mother herself. The joy she brings me as I watch her faithfully serve the Lord and raise her own family is indescribable. I am blessed beyond measure. And Paul, too, understood this blessing, “After all, what gives us hope and joy, and what will be our proud reward and crown, as we stand before our Lord Jesus when He returns? It is you! Yes, you are our pride and joy.” (19-20) Indescribable joy!
Moving Forward: I’ll keep my eyes and heart open today for the young, the newbies in the Lord, encouraging them, helping them and making sure that all is well with them.
Tomorrow @ Leviticus 19-21