By Chuck Griffin
1 Thessalonians 5:12-18
Dear brothers and sisters, honor those who are your leaders in the Lord’s work. They work hard among you and give you spiritual guidance. Show them great respect and wholehearted love because of their work. And live peacefully with each other.
Brothers and sisters, we urge you to warn those who are lazy. Encourage those who are timid. Take tender care of those who are weak. Be patient with everyone.
See that no one pays back evil for evil, but always try to do good to each other and to all people.
Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.
While these verses serve as Paul’s exhortation to the Christians at Thessalonica, they also give us the opportunity to meditate a few moments on our own church experiences.
First, think for a few minutes about those who encouraged you when you were new to the faith.
I see a little parade of people in my mind. There are preachers and teachers from my childhood, relatives who exposed me to delightfully different expressions of Christianity, and people my age who seemed always to be one step ahead of me spiritually, setting good examples.
There are lots of ways for Christians to lead. Lord knows, we need more Christians willing to lead in public and private ways.
Also take a few minutes to think of the timid and weak Christians, the ones in an early or arrested stage of faith. What are their specific needs? How do we increase the amount of good they experience each day as members of Christ’s body?
As you meditate on the second question, you may find a calling welling up within you, a desire to help people grow in the grace of God. If so, lead on!
Lord, help us be mindful of how faith in Christ must be handed like a baton from generation to generation. Let us not drop the baton. Amen.