Today’s Tasting: 1 & 2 Thessalonians
1 Thessalonians opens with Paul telling the Thessalonians that he thanks God for their strong faith. He then, describes the work he did in Thessalonica. Paul says he wishes he could visit them, but he has not been detained. He also encourages them to continue living a life that is pleasing to God. Then, he encourages them to be ready for the Lord’s coming.
2 Thessalonians begins with Paul discussing God’s judgment, and reassuring the believers in Thessalonica that they are chosen for salvation. He asks them to pray for him and his companions. Paul concludes his letter by telling them that believers should not refuse to work.
Today’s Nourishment: It has been difficult to miss lately the news stories about terrorist attacks around the world, and the fear that there will be attacks in America. While these fears are legitimate, we must not allow such news to hold us back from doing what God has asked of us.
“We continually recall before God our Father the things you have done because of your faith and the work you have done because of your love. And we thank him that you continue to be strong because of your hope in our Lord Jesus Christ…Give thanks in all circumstances”
(1 Thessalonians 1:3 NCV; 5:18 ESV).
“Help those who are weak. Be patient with everyone. Be sure that no one pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to do what is good for each other and for all people” (1 Thessalonians 5:14-15 NCV).
The two previous passages reveal that God knows for us to help those who are weak, may not always be easy. Our strength should come from our hope in Jesus, and our trust in Him, not from our conviction that closing the border will keep us safe. While taking proper precautions is appropriate, we cannot allow fear to keep us from helping those who need us the most, who may live in our neighborhoods, as a part of our families, or a stranger who needs shelter.
Jesus spent much of his time ministering to those least fortunate, to those his society considered outcasts. He was also a man from the Middle East, the very type of person we are so fearful of now. The early churches were located in the areas that we are so afraid to welcome people from now. By letting our fears overrule what Jesus asked of us, we are losing the chance to show people who desperately need the love that God offers.
When I see the news and wonder about the right thing to do with foreigners, strangers, or those needing shelter and food, I think of the following passage from Matthew.
“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
Then, the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
Then, He will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’
They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’
He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.” Matthew 25: 35-45, NIV
As we enjoy our time with family during Thanksgiving Season, remember to truly express thanks in all circumstances. Yet, we also need to do all we can to help provide blessings to others, but with precautions.
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Tomorrow’s Delight: Acts 18-19
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