“Our Glory And Joy”
September 23, 2016
A Kraybill Church Road sunset across from our home
Photo taken by our neighbor, Doug Maxwell
“Our Glory And Joy”
Listen to this message on your audio player.
“But since we were torn away from you, brothers, for a short time, in person not in heart, we endeavored the more eagerly and with great desire to see you face to face, because we wanted to come to you—I, Paul, again and again—but Satan hindered us. For what is our hope or joy or crown of boasting before our Lord Jesus at His coming? Is it not you? For you are our glory and joy” (1 Thessalonians 2:17-20).
Consider how many people have touched your life. Some in significant, memorable ways, others in a lesser yet still impacting way. So many for the good while others not so much.
Each of you are also impacting other lives! And the greatest impact is when we influence others for Christ and eternity, most especially our family members but also beyond that. You may have impacted others through your faithful service as a Sunday School teacher, musician, nursery worker, pastor, college professor, church custodian and scores of other ways we serve the Lord. How gratifying to know of the difference we can make on this side, but in many cases we will never really know till the other side.
The apostle Paul had a brief but fruitful time of ministry in Thessalonica before being run out of town (Acts 17:1-10). He left a small congregation of believers and later wrote a letter to encourage them in their faith and gave them further instructions and even some correction.
In the daily text he turns away from any self-boasting of his spiritual accomplishments and instead turns the spotlight on the Thessalonian believers, those whom he influenced for the kingdom, and the very recipients of his letter. “For what is our hope or joy or crown of boasting before our Lord Jesus at His coming? Is it not you? For you are our glory and joy.”
Now we probably tend to read this text in a rather detached way. After all, we are reading a letter written to a church nearly 2,000 years ago. We properly read it as sacred Scripture, God’s Holy Word. We should seek application in each section.
But picture yourself sitting in the Thessalonian congregation about 50 AD. You are a newer believer since the gospel only came to your town a short time earlier when Paul and Silas came through. You may have been part of those first meetings or perhaps you are an even more recent convert. You don’t have a Bible in your hand and this was long before PowerPoint verses were projected on a screen.
But a church elder arose to read a letter written by your church’s founder, the Apostle Paul. You’ve heard Paul’s name mentioned often as he is greatly respected among the believers of Thessalonica. The room grows quiet giving careful attention to Paul’s words of counsel and instruction.
But you especially perk up when the elder reads the portion that is today’s text. He reads, “For what is our hope or joy or crown of boasting before our Lord Jesus at His coming?”
The elder continues, “Is it not you? For you are our glory and joy.” He’s writing about you! You look around the room as people smile at each other heartened by the apostle Paul’s tender reference toward them.
When we stand in the presence of the Lord at His coming what will be our hope or joy or crown of boasting? Paul answers that question for himself regarding his ministry to the Thessalonians. I believe it would be representative toward all to whom he ministered. “Is it not you? Indeed, you are our glory and joy.” In our case it will be those whom we have blessed in the name of Christ.
Warren Wiersbe comments, “When the Christians at Thessalonica read this letter, it must have encouraged them tremendously. They were going through intense persecution and suffering, and perhaps some of them were tempted to give up. “Don’t give up!” Paul encouraged them. “Lay hold of the spiritual resources you have in Jesus Christ. You have the Word of God within you, the people of God around you, and the glory of God before you. There is no need to give up.”
A great source of joy in heaven will be the presence of those whom we, like Paul, have impacted for Christ. So let us keep His light shining today. At times you may see the immediate results of your work, but more often you will see the evidence in future years, and I believe in many ways the greatest results will be seen in heaven. Stay faithful!
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, we want to follow Christ’s example who made Himself nothing, taking on the very nature of a servant. He reached out to the rich, the poor, the powerful and powerless, the young and old, the weak and strong. Though their needs varied that could only be met through Christ each of them needed a relationship with You, our Father, and that is true of every generation no matter our ethnicity, our wealth or lack thereof, our educational background or any other factor. We have opportunity to impact people from all walks of life so we ask You to guide us to them as we give ourselves in ministry and service to others who desire to follow Christ. It is in His name that we pray. Amen.
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