1 Thessalonians 1:2-4 “We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers; Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father; Knowing, brethren beloved, your election of God.”
If we were to take a poll of all who knew you, what would they say you would be best known for?
Would it be your care for the poor? Would it be the amount of time spent working? Would it be your baking prowess or sports knowledge? Or, would they say you were a faithful witness for Jesus Christ? Or would they be surprised to find out you are a Christian?
In his letter to the church in Thessalonica, the apostle Paul mentions their work of faith, the labor of love, and patience of hope. These character traits are desirable for any child of God, let alone a whole church body.
Often, we get discouraged because there isn’t much in the way of recognition, thankfulness, or gratitude for the things we do for/with God. We should be satisfied that we have been obedient, faithful, and in those things pleasing to our Heavenly Father.
But every one of us desires to know that we are traveling in the right direction and doing that which pleases the One for whom we work.
Sometimes, our flesh gets in the way of the work we do. Frustration and failure peck at our patience, and soon, we are angry and defeated.
Doing God’s work as directed and empowered by the Holy Spirit will get us noticed. Not only by God’s children but by our enemy as well. Religion tries to emulate what we do but will fail miserably. They may even incur trouble they never expected.
Acts 19:13-14 “Then certain of the vagabond Jews, exorcists, took upon them to call over them which had evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, We adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preacheth. And there were seven sons of one Sceva, a Jew, and chief of the priests, which did so.”
Exorcism is a spiritual activity that can only be performed by those who are spiritual. Otherwise, you will find yourself in a fight without the proper weapons to win. These vagabond Jews thought they could do what they saw the disciples do. Little did they know the storm into which they were entering.
Acts 19:15-16 “And the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye? And the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, and overcame them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.”
That must have been quite a sight!
The evil spirit said, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye?“
Have we done anything that would gain the enemy’s attention?
The church at Thessalonica had done things that brought about great tribulation. They cared for Paul and his ministry. Meeting the needs of those in their own church, the love they exhibited to the community, they revealed Christ to those around them.
Though it is not recommended, I wonder what polling data would show if we asked our community what they thought of our church? How are we perceived? Are we a faithful witness revealing the love of Christ to those around us in ways that our Heavenly Father would be pleased?
As we begin our week, take an honest look around you about the effect you and your church are having in your community. If there are areas of weakness, find how God would want you to strengthen it and you.
Use a proven plan – PDCA
P – Plan
D – Do
A – Adjust
That way, we can use continuous improvement to be more effective for our Father’s work through us.