Wednesday 26 November 2014

Bible Book:
1 Thessalonians

“... urging and encouraging you and pleading that you should lead a life worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory.” (v. 12)

1 Thessalonians 2:9-12 Wednesday 26 November 2014

Psalm: Psalm 67



Just four verses and within them (in this translation), fourfamily relationships are named; brothers, sisters, father,children. Having compared himself to a nurse in yesterday'spassage, Paul wrote again, in case the Thessalonians had not yetheard, that the Christian community is about unity, about family,about being called out and called together. The family imagery isstrong and persuasive, and may have been intended to strengthen thesense of belonging to a special community.

Once again it sounds as though Paul may have been contrastinghis way of life with that of other travelling teachers who madecalls upon the resources of the local faithful in order toaccommodate and feed them. Not so, in this instance, for Paul, whoreminds the Thessalonians how he "worked night and day" (v. 9) inorder not to be a burden. Acts18:3 tells the reader that Paul worked as a tentmaker inCorinth, so he could be following the same trade here inThessalonica, where the workshop might well have become the focusof Paul's evangelism. Paul goes to some lengths (verse 10) toclarify that no-one can accuse him of exploitation; like Jesus thecarpenter from Nazareth, he is content to work as a craftsman. "Brother, sister, let me serve you, let me be asChrist to you."

He continued with a plea that the Thessalonians should adopt thedistinctive lifestyle appropriate to those who seek to follow God(verse 12). The Greek verb used,'peripatein',conveys the idea of awalk, 'to walk around' - 'the walk of life' perhaps. So it is notso much about lifestyle in fact, as about themanner of life, the way in which the believermoves through life, the calling to express the kingdom and theglory of God in everyday life.

To Ponder

  • What more could be done in your local church to cultivate thesense of belonging, of family? What might be the dangers inthis?
  • In 1 Corinthians 9, Paul suggested that 'the labourer is worthyof his hire', which seems to contradict this passage. What are thestrengths and weaknesses of a paid ministry?
  • Use Psalm 67, to reflect on the 'Reign of Christ'as a revelation of justice and equity.

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