Daily Devotion – October 20, 2020 – Dr. Pat Taylor Ellison
1 Thessalonians 2:1-8
2:1 You yourselves know, brothers and sisters, that our coming to you was not in vain,
2:2 but though we had already suffered and been shamefully mistreated at Philippi, as you know, we had courage in our God to declare to you the gospel of God in spite of great opposition.
2:3 For our appeal does not spring from deceit or impure motives or trickery,
2:4 but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the message of the gospel, even so we speak, not to please mortals, but to please God who tests our hearts.
2:5 As you know and as God is our witness, we never came with words of flattery or with a pretext for greed;
2:6 nor did we seek praise from mortals, whether from you or from others,
2:7 though we might have made demands as apostles of Christ. But we were gentle among you, like a nurse tenderly caring for her own children.
2:8 So deeply do we care for you that we are determined to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you have become very dear to us.
Paul writes to the Thessalonians affectionately. His letters to that congregation of believers are built on a deep relationship. Because his relationship with them is one of deep trust and meaning, he can say to them that God had approved Paul and his companions to bring God’s good news to northern Greece. Because Paul and company were sent there bearing God’s message, Paul didn’t have to flatter or trick anyone; Paul could simply spread the good news of Jesus. He could just be who God had sent him to be.
Have you ever felt that, in order to get something across to another person, you had to trick them or get them into the right mood first, or even lie to them, in order to get them to hear you so that you could tell them the truth? Missionary work must have been like that sometimes, to hear Paul describing here what he and his companions did not do in Thessaloniki. But in that place, there was a caring relationship and a willingness to let each other be who they really were. Whenever there is that kind of trust, deep bonds form and honesty can flourish. Trust is a gift from God.
In these chaotic days when trust may be at a minimum among some folks, treat yourself to the relaxation and healthy enjoyment of connecting with someone in whom you trust and who trusts you. Call them or share a FaceTime or Zoom call this week, so that your soul can relax into a time of caring connection in the midst of a frantic world. Those kinds of relationships are a gift from God, and they are meant to help and uplift us. Give thanks for them and uplift one another in them.
Gracious God, Thank you for loving us. Thank you for giving us trustworthy relationships that can prove to us that you are always creating a trustworthy world all around us, even when trust may seem rare. Help us always to appreciate those relationships we already have, and to seek opportunities to form new ones. Amen.