Jesus has called all of us to make disciples of all nations—and that starts right where we’re at (Acts 1:7–8). In this regard, Paul the apostle advocates for bi-vocational ministry as a primary model.
Read 2 Thessalonians 3:6–18. Reflect on 2 Thessalonians 3:7–8:
“For you yourselves know how you ought to imitate us, because we were not idle when we were with you, nor did we eat anyone’s bread without paying for it, but with toil and labor we worked night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you” (ESV).
When Paul and his colleagues, Timothy and Silas, were in Thessalonica, they paid their own way (compare 1 Thessalonians 2:9). Paul likely worked making tents (compare Acts 18:1–4). Paul and his colleagues also received some support from the Philippian church (Philippians 4:15–16).
By not requesting any financial backing from the Thessalonians, Paul was able to say and do whatever was necessary. He never had to fear offending the Thessalonians with the truth of the gospel. And there’s a lesson here, for each of us. Successful ministry starts with self-sacrifice.
Paul recognized that his work demonstrated self-sacrifice—he shared the message of Jesus for free. Paul told people about the love of Jesus because he wanted the Thessalonians to experience it—he had no other motive. This led to a successful church planting effort in Thessalonica.
Imagine what we could do in ministry today, if we each thought of ourselves as both missionaries and people who are part of the workforce.
How can you self-sacrificially love someone who doesn’t know Jesus? How can you make your life revolve around a sense of bi-vocational ministry? Drop me a comment, I would love to hear from you.
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