Today’s passage highlights the importance of fellowship and testimony for all Christians. To hear from and spend time with fellow believers is such a blessing. A life lived in true faith can be often be tough, and the temptation to give up can be a constant companion. Paul is so glad to hear, from Timothy, that the Thessalonians are still strong in their faith because he knows that they have had to, and will continue to face persecution for their faith. He is also glad to know that his own struggle to preach the good news to them has produced a strong new church that he is clearly proud of. I don’t think it is in anyway an exaggeration when Paul says that it gives them “new life” to hear from the Thessalonians. Some of the most faith affirming and inspiring moments that I have had on my brief journey of faith have been hearing the testimony of other believers. This sharing of our personal experience of God serves others by helping them remember their own stories, that their own faith still has its foundation in a personal experience of God.
1 Thessalonians 3:6-13 NLT
But now Timothy has just returned, bringing us good news about your faith and love. He reports that you always remember our visit with joy and that you want to see us as much as we want to see you. So we have been greatly encouraged in the midst of our troubles and suffering, dear brothers and sisters, because you have remained strong in your faith. It gives us new life to know that you are standing firm in the Lord. How we thank God for you! Because of you we have great joy as we enter God’s presence. Night and day we pray earnestly for you, asking God to let us see you again to fill the gaps in your faith. May God our Father and our Lord Jesus bring us to you very soon. And may the Lord make your love for one another and for all people grow and overflow, just as our love for you overflows. May he, as a result, make your hearts strong, blameless, and holy as you stand before God our Father when our Lord Jesus comes again with all his holy people. Amen.
Today’s passage ends with a wonderful blessing from Paul to the Thessalonians. Just as Paul hoped for this young church, I hope to belong to a community of faith where the love of Christ is shared to such an extent among the fellowship, that it overflows and all the people, whether believers or not, might feel the benefit and come to know the Lord and grow in him. The goal, as we share God love until it overflows, is the hope that our faith would be strengthened, our sinful desires conquered, and therefore a greater closeness and relationship to God might be found.
Jeremiah 14:11-16:15, 1 Thessalonians 2:913:13, Psalms 80:1-19, Proverbs 25:1-5