4 December 20171 Thessalonians 1:1-10
“The word of the Lord has sounded forth from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but in every place where your faith in God has become known.” (v. 8)
Psalm: Psalm 131
The Thessalonians were well placed for their messages to 'ring out' to Macedonia and Achaia. Their city was at a meeting point of East and West. The great road that linked Rome with the East went right through the middle of the city, so any news could swiftly pass either way. Paul had visited Thessalonica himself (Acts 17:1-9) but had only been able to stay for about three weeks before having to escape from the enraged Jews, by being smuggled out of the city. He was doubtful that he could have done much effective work in such a short time. Yet, here in his letter, he is able to send messages of thankfulness and encouragement because of the good reports he has received of the Christian work that is being done in the city and spreading out into the regions all around.
He commends the faith and work of the Thessalonian Christians, knowing that his best way of approach is to praise them for all the good that they are doing before going on to tackle some of the problems in their community later in his letter. But his approach makes sense. The message of the gospel has been 'ringing out' from them and has spread far and wide. He has every right to be thankful for that - just as we need to be grateful for those who have introduced us to faith.
Let us thank God for those who led us to our own faith by their words, prayers and example.
Let us thank God for the faith of those people who have supported and encouraged us when life has not been easy.
Let us thank God for those who were ready to help when we faced problems and who always stood by us when our behaviour could have alienated them.
Let us thank God for those generous people offering financial support to the Christian work being done by others.
Let us thank God for those who are prepared to get their hands dirty in practical work and for those who work creatively and with great thought to make faith relevant to everyday life.
In all these people of faith the love of God is demonstrated and the name of God is honoured.
So may God strengthen our faith as we join in that witness and work in the world.
- Where did your life of faith begin, if it has, and who has helped, or hindered, your way?
- Criticism seems to be a habit more easily learned than thankfulness. Why is that and how does it affect you?