“You became examples.” (1 Thess 1:1-10)
It’s becoming more apparent that we are a generation that is very thirsty for God, for the Truth, and to be fulfilled. But in a very different fashion than generations before us. God granted us a gift, a very precious gift that we need to hang on to and never let go of no matter how hard the world pushes us away from it. This gift was given to us through grace, because it can’t be earned or taught. The gift of being broken for the things that break His heart. This treasure is one of the main reasons why there is currently, and more than ever before, social work and non-for-profit organizations. God has ignited inside each of us the fire to serve His children. This passion of outpouring ourselves to those who need it, and I ask Him to allow us to burn more for Him through His children.
The Thessalonians had a very similar passion, and they used their talents in order to spread the Kingdom. St. Paul tell them that the “gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Spirit.” That the gospel wasn’t merely words, it came in power. This power is the reason why “you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God.” That is the true power of the gospel! Allowing us to leave all behind to serve the living and true God. The question becomes how. How could we use this incredible power to heal the brokenness of the world? How could we turn away from the world around us and become true servants and children to the living and true God? How could I use serve when I can’t preach or give sermons or teach children? How could I pour out in love to others when there isn’t a place for me to do it because I don’t fit the mold?
St. Paul gives us the answer to all of these questions. “[You] received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Spirit, so that you became examples to all in Macedonia and Achaia who believe.” You became examples. God created each of us in His image, in order to complete each other, not be exactly like each other. He gave each of us different talents so that His gospel could be spread out to all nations, not just one specific type of people. Each of us is made unique in Him, and “it was very good”.
Going back to what was said earlier regarding our generations being different than the ones before. We are thirsty for the truth and helping His children, but don’t know how. By being examples, the Thessalonians spread the gospel to Macedonia and Achaia. They didn’t preach, they didn’t teach in Sunday school, or complete Servants prep. They became examples, and in being examples, they lead others to the truth of our Lord Jesus Christ. They became examples through “your work of faith, labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Thess 1:3)
I urge each of us to look at the next generation of His children to come, and to wisely judge and see. Do they need to sit down through endless hours of lectures, sermons, and talks? Or do they need to be lead through works of faith, labor of love, and patience of hope?
[The Icon shown is of St. Arsenius the great. He was a teacher of kings. Afterwards he forsake all and desired only quietness and solitude with our Lord. http://www.copticchurch.net/topics/synexarion/arsenius.html%5D