Friday, October 3, 2014

1 Thessalonians 3: Good News Brings Joy


1 Thess 3:1-7 Therefore when we could bear it no longer, we were willing to be left behind at Athens alone, and we sent Timothy, our brother and God's coworker in the gospel of Christ, to establish and exhort you in your faith, that no one be moved by these afflictions. For you yourselves know that we are destined for this. For when we were with you, we kept telling you beforehand that we were to suffer affliction, just as it has come to pass, and just as you know. For this reason, when I could bear it no longer, I sent to learn about your faith, for fear that somehow the tempter had tempted you and our labor would be in vain.  But now that Timothy has come to us from you, and has brought us the good news of your faith and love and reported that you always remember us kindly and long to see us, as we long to see you— for this reason, brothers, in all our distress and affliction we have been comforted about you through your faith.

Spiritual leadership is not about programs but people. The leader's greatest fulfillment is not found in a program successfully executed but in people whose lives have been touched and transformed by Jesus Christ.

Paul's concern over the Thessalonians was not focused on how well they run their "church" programs, but how well the people were. He was anxious about their spiritual well-being and was willing to be left alone at Athens in order to send Timothy back to Thessalonica to "establish and exhort" them in the faith, especially that they should not be discouraged by their afflictions. As it turned out, the Thessalonian believers were going on strong in faith and love despite their difficulties. Paul was delighted to receive this great news when Timothy came back to report to him. That was what inspired him to write his first letter to the Thessalonian church.

That should be the heart of true spiritual leadership--it's not about privileges and power but about people and their growth in the Lord. What a joy when we see the people we led to Christ grow strong and become multiplying disciples! What a privilege to make an impact in people's lives through the gospel of Jesus Christ. There is no greater joy and satisfaction in life than this.

Father, thank You for the privilege of being part of Your greater mission in Your kingdom, to see lives delivered out of Satan's grasp and now enjoying righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. Amen.

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