Reading Passage – I Thess. 2:1-12
1 Thessalonians 2:8 (NIV) 8so we cared for you. Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well.
Paul had to suffer severely in Thessalonica. But that was insignificant compared to his sufferings in Philippi (1 Thess. 2:2 cf. Acts 16:16-24). Paul could spend only three weeks in Thessalonica but won many Jews and devout Greeks for the Lord (Acts 17.1-5) However, the new believers were ready to risk much for Paul in Thessalonica. Jason, who opened his home for the missionaries, was dragged and put under custody, because he helped them (Acts 17. 5- 10).
What was Paul’s attitude when he was in Thessalonica? Our reading passage says many things. They- Paul and Silas- were God pleasers, hard working, with the gentleness of a nursing mother and the affection of a father! However, he says, he was there not just to preach the Gospel, win souls and retreat! Of course, he wanted to see souls redeemed. But he did it because he loved them. In fact, he said, he was reluctant to leave Thessalonica because of the persecution. He was saddened to see the authorities persecute Jason, who gave him a home to stay. He says, he would have given his life for him.
These days, we hear many success stories from various mission fields. Millions heard the gospel, thousands accepted Jesus, hundreds were baptized and so forth. Good, but come to think of it, why do we share the Gospel?
Paul loved those to whom he preached the gospel, more than his very life. Do we have that kind of love for people we minister to? What motivates us to preach the Gospel? Is it the burden of the great commandment, or the urge of pure love that we have towards people? One thing is for sure, we fail many times because we do not love people more than our lives. Remember, if you do not love a person, you have no right to share the gospel with him.
Prayer: Lord, many times love for people is not the motivating factor in my sharing the gospel. Help me to understand that I become your disciple, only when I love. AMEN!
Further readings: Acts 16: 16-22; Acts 1: 1- 10