At the beginning of this letter, Paul praises the Thessalonians for their faith and reminds them their emboldened example is raised high.
“For we know, brothers 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; in spite of suffering, you welcomed the message with the joy given by the Holy Spirit.” 1 Thessalonians 1:4-6
Loved by God. Chosen by God. Given power. Living among. Imitators of the Lord. For others’ sake. Welcoming of the message. Joyful despite suffering. That is what it means to live a Christian life.
But Paul knows the Thessalonians have fallen into laziness as well. So he reminds them the life of faith is their responsibility. They cannot love people like God commands if they are dependent on others to provide what they can provide for themselves. And neither can we.
“As Apostles of Christ we could have been a burden to you, but we were gentle among you, like a mother caring for her little children. We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the Gospel of God but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us. Surely you remember, brothers, our toil and hardship; we worked night and day in order not to be a burden to anyone while we preached the gospel of God to you.” 1 Thessalonians 2:6-9
As we are ending this study, let the lasting impression of this book of the Bible pour out of you like the gentle love Paul describes in the form of self-care, hard work, dedication, perseverance, and self-responsibility. If we are not taking care of ourselves, we cannot truly care for others and we will not reap a harvest because we are trying to grow in a barren land.
God put man here on earth to grow a garden, to care for the soil and the plants and the fruit, and to work to feed himself: “The Lord God took man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.” Genesis 2:15
Rich soil, fertile seeds, brilliant sunshine, and the quench of water will bring food. Bitter soil, exhausted seeds, a sliver of light, and a dried well will not.
How does your garden of life grow? Are you working in it and taking care of it?
Paul tells us what will happen if we do not. “For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: ‘If a man will not work, he shall not eat.’” 2 Thessalonians 3:10
Notice he doesn’t say, if a man cannot work, he shall not eat. He says if a man will not work, he shall not eat.
God has blessed us with a bounty of knowledge in His Word that teaches us why to work, how to work, who to work for, who to work with, when to work, when to rest, and who we do it all through. You are doing an amazing job staying folded in the pages of God’s heart, writing out Scripture, noticing your observations, planning applications, and asking in prayer! We only have two days left of this study and then you can rest!
My prayer for us today, my hope, is those words we write down because of His Word will now leap off the page through the work in our gardens so we can feed others with the fruit of His truth.
Loved by God. Chosen by God. Given power. Living among. Imitators of the Lord. For others’ sake. Welcoming of the message. Joyful despite suffering. This is what he wants for our lives.
So Dear Ones, guard your hearts, work your gardens, and help feed others. Do this all for Him because He has chosen you to do it.
“Those who work their land will have abundant food, but those who chase fantasies have no sense.” Proverbs 12:11
“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters,” Colossians 3:23
“May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us; establish the work of our hands for us- yes, establish the work of our hands.” Psalm 90:17
All for His glory,
Amanda loves everything Texas and everything Jesus. She squeezes in as much time reading and writing as possible in between raising two precious girls and doing her best to love and respect her firefighter husband. She knows how empty life was without God and is forever grateful for the handful of people who led her to the Lord.
Amanda is one of those extroverted introverts and had to learn how to place God’s armor over the heart on her sleeve. Her desire is for women all over the world to know God adores them so they can return to, and remain in, their intended identity- His.
Friends, do you find yourself believing lies instead of God’s Truth? Do you battle feelings of not being enough? Do your past failures and missed opportunities rob you of enjoying the life God has given you today? Since the garden of Eden, there has been a struggle between lies and truth. In our upcoming summer study, we will expose many of the common lies we, as women, find ourselves believing and, with the help of Scripture, will learn to combat each lie with God’s Truth.
Join us on June 18th as we will begin our NEW six-week summer study on Truth Over Lies…it wouldn’t be the same without you!
You can grab your copy of our upcoming Truth Over Lies study (and corresponding kids’ journal) in our online shop! 100% of our proceeds go back into Love God Greatly and help us reach more women with God’s Truth…thank you for your support!