Paul is packing a lot of wisdom into these last few verses. We should not rush past the message that might be screaming at us today. For me, the message was to be patient with people! I don’t know about you, but I can be very impatient when people don’t act in the way I expect. This may be exactly the message I need to hear today.
Lazy, timid, and weak people are also featured here. Yet, bottom line, Paul says we are called to be patient with “everyone,” not just the lazy, timid, and weak. Do you resonate with one of these distinctions of the human condition?
Yes, “kudos” is a real word! It’s a noun meaning praise, honor, or acclaim for an achievement of some sort. To be one of God’s workers should be more than an achievement but a way of life. It’s good to remember that when Paul wrote these words, the “church” was in its infancy. The hierarchy of leadership we see today is quite different from what it was then.
I can only imagine that everyone touched by the Holy Spirit played some sort of role in growing the church. Paul has some truly profound final words as he closes this letter. I don’t want to rush past them. Instead, let’s take a look at these two verses and really dig into the message Paul is trying to convey.
It’s going to happen; we just don’t know when. Jesus promised he would come back, and we know his word is true. Paul says, “For you know quite well that the day of the Lord’s return will come unexpectedly, like a thief in the night.” Does that leave you a bit unsettled or oozing with peacefulness? I don’t think we’re supposed to be afraid, despite the thought of having a thief breaking in while I’m sleeping doesn’t sound all that pleasant.
Yet, the idea of Jesus returning to rescue our fallen world gives me hope. Yes! It most certainly gives me hope and with it some peace. It helps me get through some tough days knowing they don’t last forever. Jesus’ love for me lasts forever. I’ve even been known to say, “Okay, Jesus, you can come back any time now.”
We die. Then what? For those who believe God’s Word, we have an assurance of something much greater than we can even comprehend. I’m not so sure we’ll meet St. Peter at the pearly gates and be asked questions for admittance as we often see depicted in cartoons. Our text today gives us a glimpse of what will happen to those who have died when Jesus returns.
I listened to a wonderful interview of Joni Eareckson Tada about heaven. In case you’re not familiar with Joni, she’s been a paraplegic for over fifty years following a spinal cord injury as a young girl. I have always admired her and hope to meet her one day. Her faith is so inspiring. I put a link to that interview in my Facebook group, Reflections-Devos on the Go.
We’ve all heard how it important it is to love God and love each other. If we get those two things right, many of the other things we’ll face in life will simply fall into place. That’s not to say life will be “easy,” but it does mean we’ll enjoy life more fully when we can learn what it means to love with Christian love.
Again, Paul seems extremely impressed with the Thessalonians and how these young Christians are getting it right. “We urge you in the name of the Lord Jesus to live in a way that pleases God, as we have taught you. You live this way already, and we encourage you to do so even more.” Paul uses some examples that these Gentiles would understand when he speaks of sexual sin. Adultery and other sexual freedoms would have been common among the Gentiles (pagans or new believers) of that day. Certainly, this is behavior that doesn’t please God.