On Monday, Will Our Work Reveal our Love?
Devotional Thought of the Day
2 We always thank God for you all and always mention you in our prayers. 3 For we remember before our God and Father how you put your faith into practice, how your love made you work so hard, and how your hope in our Lord Jesus Christ is firm. 4 Our friends, we know that God loves you and has chosen you to be his own. 1 Thessalonians 1:2-4 (TEV)
“There are also statements about Thanksgiving, like the beautiful statement of Cyprian about the godly communicant, “Piety distinguishes between what is given and what is forgiven, and it gives thanks to the Giver of such a generous blessing,”4 That is, piety looks at what is given and what is forgiven; it compares the greatness of God’s blessings with the greatness of our ills, our sin and our death; and it gives thanks.”
It is part of the greeting of the letter, the opening words before Paul gets to the “serious” matters which caused him to write to the church in Thessalonika. Maybe that is why we rush by them and don’t really hear what Paul is saying to the people of God.
I was asked by a friend if I had ever written on these three verses, any devotion, and as I looked at them, I realized their significance. What Paul has seen revealed in these people, as he considers what drives them, why they work so diligently.
Work that was done work that the people put themselves into, not just a little, but with everything they were.
Not because the law said they had to, not our of a sense of obligation, or even pious obedience.
They did their work, and they put their faith into practice because of love. Love is what drove them to do what they did, to serve and make visible that they were slaves, not of their own passions, but yoked with Christ to the passion of the Father. A love born out because we see the incredible way in which God loves us, the love seen as we contemplate His work, His mercy, His forgiveness and His love for us.
A love that is born out of the hope given to us, as Jesus in revealed in our lives. As the Holy Spirit testifies that the Father loves us and chose us to be His kids. What an incredible thing! We are God’s; He loves us! Because of Christ’s promised work in our lives we have hope!
Knowing this strips away from us the anxieties, the fears, the sense of failure, freeing us to look on one another and love each other, not just with words, but with careful thought and action. Christ’s presence in our lives causes us to replicate His love for us, as we love each other. (Other being every member of humanity) We see them as He sees us, broken and in need of healing, but still the people God desires to call His own.
And so we work, diligently, not for a reward, not because we have to, but because we have been loved…. and it has changed. us.
May others see in us, what Paul saw in the people of God who were gathered in Thessaloniki. Seeing our faith put into practice, the love that makes us work so hard, and the hope we have is Jesus, may they come to glorify the Father as well.
Tappert, T. G. (Ed.). (1959). The Book of Concord the confessions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church. (p. 263). Philadelphia: Mühlenberg Press.