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Tuesday, July 8, 2014
Scripture Reading: 1 Thessalonians 3:6–13
But Timothy has just now come to us from you, and has brought us the good news of your faith and love. He has told us also that you always remember us kindly and long to see us—just as we long to see you. For this reason, brothers and sisters, during all our distress and persecution we have been encouraged about you through your faith. For we now live, if you continue to stand firm in the Lord. How can we thank God enough for you in return for all the joy that we feel before our God because of you? Night and day we pray most earnestly that we may see you face to face and restore whatever is lacking in your faith. Now may our God and Father himself and our Lord Jesus direct our way to you. And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, just as we abound in love for you. And may he so strengthen your hearts in holiness that you may be blameless before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints. (NRSV)
As I read the words of Paul’s prayer for the believers in Thessalonica—Christians he had himself brought into the faith—I hear him speak to them about a relationship that keeps them connected in spite of distance and circumstances. He describes an interchange of mutual care and love that encourages and builds up both himself and the Thessalonians in their efforts to know Jesus Christ and to follow Jesus’ teachings.
In my own faith and in my practice of following Jesus, I know that people who have formed me will continue to live on through me and in my actions. In turn, I believe we are all called to find a continuing life in those who follow us by the faith we pass on to them. That is, in some ways, the very heart of what we are called to do as a church: to raise up children baptized in our midst, to teach and befriend youth who are confirmed before us, to accompany and work with leaders elected through our discernment with the Holy Spirit.
Strange as it may sound, I believe our own lives of faith can never be completed within our own lifetimes. Like Paul, I think we are all called to live on in those whom we help form so that they might also stand their ground in the Lord. Who are your Thessalonians?
Gracious Lord Jesus, you are my redeemer and friend, and I seek to be faithful to you and to show your life and grace to others in my words and deeds. Help me to remember that you found your life by giving it up in service to God’s people and that I am called to do the same. May I find ways to share our faith with others and to build them up in love for you, so that I will find mutual encouragement with them and my life will be bound up with theirs. Amen.
Written by Hardy H. Kim, Associate Pastor for Evangelism
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