12 But we appeal to you, brothers and sisters,[c] to respect those who labor among you, and have charge of you in the Lord and admonish you; 13 esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves. 14 And we urge you, beloved,[d] to admonish the idlers, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with all of them. 15 See that none of you repays evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to all. 16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 19 Do not quench the Spirit. 20 Do not despise the words of prophets,[e] 21 but test everything; hold fast to what is good; 22 abstain from every form of evil.
Paul was one of the most prolific writers among the early followers of Jesus. Thirteen of the letters included in our New Testament come to us under Paul’s name and influence. The early church considered Paul’s words to churches and church leaders to be scripture – the very Word of God. In wondering what God might say to us in our time, I have been reading the closing remarks in some of Paul’s letters.
As Paul concludes his first letter to the Christians in Thessalonica, he encourages them to be active and encouraging in living out their faith. Paul says that we should respect those among us who work for God’s kingdom. He wishes for peace among God’s people. He then gives us a plan for our work with one another:
Admonish the idlers (Be a cheerleader to those who are sitting on the sidelines and prompt them to get in the game?)
Encourage the fainthearted (More cheerleading?)
Help the weak (Cheer and assist?)
And be patient with them all.
Paul seems to be wanting Christ’s followers to keep our life’s work moving forward as a celebration. He then uses a word that belonged in his vocabulary – rejoice.
Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing. Give thank in all circumstances.
I have been saddened and a little depressed at how God’s kingdom is not really shining through in our nation right now. Maybe I need to joyfully stay active encouraging and helping those around me who are working to bring God’s kingdom fully here.
God, let me find the true joy that comes as followers of Jesus working side by side showing Your love. Let my joy become someone else’s joy as I live my life today as a happy follower of my Lord and Savior Jesus, in whose name I pray. Amen.