Do others jump for joy about you?
In this section it is very clear that Paul has a lot of respect for the people of Thessalonica. He is so excited about them that he would like to go and visit them again, but repeatedly something prevents him from doing so. Paul is excited about their faith. He is filled with joy because they have made a turnaround and is now walking God’s path.
20Who do you think we’re going to be proud of when our Master Jesus appears if it’s not you? You’re our pride and joy! In a way, their conversion is a testimonial of Paul’s work together with the Holy Spirit.
The young, new Christians have done everything expected of them. They persevered and continued to serve God despite the attacks on them. They did not stop even when their lives were in danger.
They must’ve been unsure about the new message that was so different from what their parents believed, but still they persevered. So much so that Paul sort of boasts about them, holding them up as examples of how a real follower of Jesus Christ should live. Yes, the Holy Spirit has done a lot of work in these people.
When I read stories like these, I feel embarrassed. When I hear people witness about their conversion in church, who are lighting the world on fire for God, I feel embarrassed. Where did we lose speed? Will Paul also jump for joy when he meets us at the gates of heaven?
Friends, in a way the world and our choices have made us easygoing children of the Lord and no one is actually an example of fired-up faith. Are you the missionary or the mission field?
Let’s put it another way: Are you making a difference in the lives of others? Will there be a homeless person at the gate one day, saying with a huge smile: “Wow, it’s good to see you. Hey you! Do you see this guy? This is the guy I told you so much about. This guy has really made a big difference in my life.”
“When I was hungry, I could always knock on his door, because he would always give me some bread. Nice thick sandwiches and hot coffee with three teaspoons of sugar. One day he gave me his brand new K-Way jacket – just like that. If those other thugs hadn’t taken it, I would still be wearing that jacket.”
“No, this guy really believed in God. I know it. Not because he told me, but because I could see it in the way he acted.”
I don’t know about you, but I will have to change a couple of things in my life so that Paul and others can be proud of me. I will never be able to do it on my own, but with God and his Spirit, I can. So help me, God.
What will others say about you?
Will others be excited when they see you entering heaven?
Our Father in heaven, You would like to be excited about your children doing what You ask them to. But we get stuck in the mud and don’t do what You expect from us. Please help us to get up and push forward and do what will make You happy. Amen.