“… for this reason, brothers, in all our distress and affliction we have been comforted about you through your faith.” – 1 Thessalonians 3:7
Scripture reading: 1 Thessalonians 3:6–10
Paul and his companions worked day and night among the Thessalonians, but they were soon forced to leave. It appeared to them that many of the Thessalonians had accepted the gospel enthusiastically, but after leaving, the apostles wondered if the conversion they had seen had been genuine and so Paul sent Timothy back to Thessalonica to gauge the faith of the congregation.
He returns bearing great news. Paul’s missionary work had been blessed by the Lord. Despite his affliction and suffering, Paul was greatly comforted by what he heard. His fear, that perhaps his missionary efforts had been in vain in Thessalonica, was now quickly dispelled. Timothy was able to report that there was evidence of love and faith in the church. The congregation also had spoken well of Paul’s work among them. They remembered him with fondness and they longed to see him again.
That longing was reciprocal. Paul was concerned about his sheep. He loved them, longed to see them and hoped to see them joyfully serving the Lord, despite their hardships. In turn, the sheep longed for their shepherd. He had brought them to Christ and they now loved him and longed to see him again.
Does that reciprocal love between shepherd and sheep exist between you and your pastor? As he labours in his calling, can your minister rejoice as he sees evidence of your faith at work in you?
Suggestions for prayer
Ask God to help you to develop a deeper love for those who labour in the churches as ministers. Pray that your minister may be comforted and rejoice in the faith he sees at work in you.
Rev. Mark Zylstra is an emeritus minister of the United Reformed Churches in North America. He and his wife Corrie, live in Smithville ON and their home church is Wellandport, ON URC. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com.