“We always thank God for all of you and continually mention you in our prayers. We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. For we know, brothers and sisters loved by God, that he has chosen you” (1 Thessalonians 1: 2–4a)
Chosen by God! Wow! That is a powerful and truly moving statement. God has chosen you and placed you in the ministry where you serve His people.
Paul wrote this to the people of the church at Thessalonica. He was so thankful for their faith, love, and hope, even in times of trouble and persecution. The Thessalonians had experienced difficulties in the early days of establishing the church.
At times we find difficulties in ministry and become overwhelmed by them, even fixated on them. This negativity (sin) occurs in all of our lives. We can receive a hundred positive, supportive comments and yet the one negative comment sticks in our craw and we dwell on it. We wonder why the comment was made, what was the motive, did they not understand and how could they possibly feel that way.
I remember clearly various times in my ministry when I felt unappreciated and even attacked by individuals that didn’t see things as I did. I made a decision and it was not the right decision in that person’s view. Many others came to my side and offered support for the direction I had chosen, but that didn’t seem to matter to this one person and, because I allowed myself to become fixated on this one negative, I had difficulty seeing the path the Lord was providing for me and the support of the many around me.
Then I remembered Paul’s exhortation to the people of Thessalonica. God has chosen me—me! Wow! And God has chosen you too. There are many that surround you daily who support and love you. They lift you and your ministry up to God our Father in prayer. They see your faith in action and witness your love. Your endurance for the ministry flows clearly from our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Our hope is in Him alone.
As sinners, we daily return to our sinful nature to fixate on the negatives in our lives, but we do have hope, and that hope come to us through the power of the Holy Spirit from Christ our Savior. Be reminded of the Thessalonians and Paul’s encouragement of them and know that you are an appreciated, valued child of God. Know that you and your ministry are bathed in prayer by those that surround you, and that we are thankful for you.
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