1 Thessalonians 1:1-10
experienced hiker will set trail markers to insure his or safe return from the
wilderness. Often these markers are stones stacked as a visible directional
apostle Paul had as his trail marker in the Christian life three words, his
favorite trilogy – faith, hope and love. These virtues provided him with not
only a reference point, but also the motivation to stay at the task of ministry.
They enabled him to stay true to the task and faithful in service, not letting
him give up.
The work of faith makes one evaluate. Paul wrote, “We continually remember before
our God and Father your work produced by faith . . .” (v. 3). Here the word
faith is a reference to a vocation or to a lifestyle. Because of one’s
faith in Jesus Christ their conduct is righteous. Consequently, the primary
vocation of a believer is being a Christian; and their secondary vocation is
making a living.
tells us more about people than the way they work. One may work in fear of punishment,
or in hope of financial gain, or in a sense of duty and responsibility, or in
inspiration by faith. A believer works not for humans but for God.
The labor of love makes one exemplary. Paul continues, “. . . your labor prompted
by love . . .” (v. 3). A labor of love is more than a matter of feeling. Ask
any woman who has endured the labor of childbirth. The child was birthed into
this world. It didn’t feel good. It was work. But, it was a labor of love.
I painted the dining room of our home. My wife wanted it a certain tint of a
certain color. To accomplish the desired outcome, I had to apply six coats of
paint. That was not fun. But, it was a labor of love.
is best defined in actions and not feelings or mere words. I would encourage
you to read Paul’s description of love in his famous love chapter, 1 Corinthians
13, especially verses 4-7.
a result of the labor of love, the believers in Thessalonica were an example
to others. They “became a model to all the believers” (v. 7).
you want to impress someone with your faith, stop arguing and debating the faith
and get to work showing others how much you love them.
The endurance of hope makes one expectant. Paul finishes his sentence, “. .
. and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ” (v. 3). The
word endurance portrays a way of taking on problems and suffering that
not only endures the pain, but out of the circumstances, creates opportunities.
A person can endure anything as long as they have hope. With hope a person is
walking not to the night, but to the dawn.
in point, Paul. He endured suffering and hardship, but in each instance he found
a way to communicate the gospel. So too had the Thessalonians. In spite of adversity
they continued to share the love of Jesus. As Paul commented concerning them:
“The Lord’s message rang out from you . . . your faith in God has become known
everywhere” (v. 8).
in the ministry of the Lord is a dealer in hope. Jesus inspires that hope. It
enables us to continue on in the face of difficulty and danger to communicate
the story of Jesus. Never give up on Jesus and then you will never lose hope.
you become discouraged, and you will; when you become, downcast, and you will;
when you become defeated, and you will; remember God, the Father, look to Jesus,
the Son, and rely on the Holy Spirit, the Guide. Then, and only then, will you
have the motivation to continue in the task of ministry. The triune God – Father,
Son, and Holy Spirit – provides the triune attributes – faith, hope, and love.
A winning combination.
brief provided by: Rick Ezell, a pastor and writer in Naperville, IL.