Missionary efforts are often treated as a foreign endeavor, reserved for the few brave souls in a distant country. But each Christian is called to live as a missionary—offering God’s mercy and hope to other people. We are to share the salvation of Christ in both word and deed. But how should that look? How are we to have energy for that each day? The apostle Paul has some answers in his first letter to the church at Thessalonica.
Read 1 Thessalonians 1:1–10. Reflect on 1 Thessalonians 1:1–3:
“Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace. We give thanks to God always for all of you, constantly mentioning you in our prayers, remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ” (ESV).
When Paul wrote to the Thessalonians, he focused on how to live as a Christian and why we should do so. Paul emphasizes the great hope we have in Christ.
For many, though (myself included), hope can feel like a cliché. When I look toward my future and the future of our world, it’s hard for me to believe that things will get better. But Paul cuts right through all those difficulties with thanksgiving.
After introducing his coauthors Timothy and Silvanus (also called Silas), Paul tells the Thessalonian church how grateful he is for them (1:1–2). Paul reflects on how the Thessalonian believers are laboring for Christ out of love, noting the stability of their hope in Christ. When Paul considers the Thessalonians he does not see a ship that wavers off course as each difficulty sweeps over them. Instead, Paul sees a ship that is captained by Christ the Lord.
The Thessalonians look toward the horizon and see Jesus. They do not let worry, or even persecution, define them. Instead, Jesus defines them.
Think of someone you personally know who has great hope in Christ. In what ways does their hope inspire an attitude of thankfulness in you? What is one way that inspirational person acts as a daily missionary that you can emulate?
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