Daily Devotion – October 12, 2020 – Dr. Pat Taylor Ellison

1 Thessalonians 1:1-10
1:1 Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace.
1:2 We always give thanks to God for all of you and mention you in our prayers, constantly
1:3 remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.
1:4 For we know, brothers and sisters beloved by God, that he has chosen you,
1:5 because our message of the gospel came to you not in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction; just as you know what kind of persons we proved to be among you for your sake.
1:6 And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for in spite of persecution you received the word with joy inspired by the Holy Spirit,
1:7 so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia.
1:8 For the word of the Lord has sounded forth from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but in every place your faith in God has become known, so that we have no need to speak about it.
1:9 For the people of those regions report about us what kind of welcome we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols, to serve a living and true God,
1:10 and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead–Jesus, who rescues us from the wrath that is coming.

Wouldn’t you have loved to be a member of the church in Thessaloniki in northern Greece? This letter written to them by Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy is full of praise and commendation. Their work is marked by faith and labor and steadfast hope in Jesus. They heard Paul’s preaching, followed the Holy Spirit’s calling, and turned from following many other gods to belief in the Lord God through Jesus Christ. They had become examples, missionaries, and were spoken of as doing the work Paul did among them.

Wouldn’t you love to be thought of in these glowing terms? Maybe it is possible. All we would have to do is imitate Paul and his fellow missionaries and imitate the Lord, in spite of persecution. Just do what the Holy Spirit inspires in us. Just sound forth the word of the Lord not just in North Dakota and Minnesota but by reputation anywhere else we are known by family and friends.

Yeah. That’s all.

And we would do all these lovely things without thought of publicity or for the goal of a fine reputation. No rallies. No cameras. No tweets. No Facebook posts about our actions. Just one-on-one faithful words and deeds, in relationship with others, to the glory of God. Just love, sacrifice, patience, and generosity.

Just showing all the way up for someone else.

If we listen this week, the Holy Spirit will guide you and me to at least one such opportunity. Let us pray that we will notice it.

Gracious God, Thank you for loving us. Thank you for tapping us on the shoulder sometimes and giving us the nudge to be the Kingdom of God to even one person. Thank you that you do not give up on us as totally hopeless.  Let us aspire to be Thessalonians this week and imitate Paul and Christ.   Amen.