1 & 2 Thessalonians

by Sim Kay Tee

Day 7

Read 1 Thessalonians 3:6-8

Joseph Bayly, a Christian author who lost three young sons to disease, was intimately acquainted with suffering and pain. In The View from a Hearse, he writes about bereavement and the people who came to comfort him.

Who needs encouragement? Everyone.

″I was sitting, torn by grief,″ he recalls. ″Someone came and talked to me of God's dealings, of why it happened, of hope beyond the grave. He talked constantly, he said things I knew were true. I was unmoved, except to wish he'd go away. He finally did.

″Another came and sat beside me. He didn't talk. He didn't ask leading questions. He just sat beside me for an hour or more, listened when I said something, answered briefly, prayed simply, left. I was moved. I was comforted. I hated to see him go.″3

The Thessalonians, too, had good memories of Paul's visit. Undoubtedly, they would have hated to see him go. They yearned to see Paul again, as much as Paul himself longed to see them again (1 Thessalonians 3:6). Timothy, whom Paul sent to the city in his place, probably ministered to the Thessalonians for a couple of months before returning to Paul in Corinth (see Acts 18:5).

And what good news Timothy had for Paul! His reports of the Thessalonian believers' ″faith and love″ brought great joy and relief to Paul (1 Thessalonians 3:6). Paul had intended to encourage and strengthen his spiritual children in their faith, but now, he humbly acknowledges that it was the Thessalonians who were the ones encouraging and strengthening him: ″We have been greatly encouraged in the midst of our troubles and suffering, dear brothers and sisters, because you have remained strong in your faith″ (v. 7, NLT).

Encouragement was important to Paul. Wherever he went, Paul faced strong opposition and persecution by those who wanted to stop his evangelistic mission to the Gentiles. He was brutally beaten and imprisoned in Philippi (see 2:2; see also Acts 16:19-24), forced to flee Thessalonica (see 1 Thessalonians 2:14-15), and pursued all the way to Berea (see Acts 17:13). Clearly, if anyone needed encouragement-lots of it-it was Paul himself.

Now, the good news from Timothy of the Thessalonians' faith gave Paul the boost he needed, rejuvenating and energising him. With deep gratitude to God, Paul rejoiced: ″It gives us new life to know that you are standing firm in the Lord. How we thank God for you! Because of you we have great joy as we enter God's presence″ (1 Thessalonians 3:8-9, NLT).

Who needs encouragement? Everyone. Even the great apostle Paul needed encouragement. Three times in this letter, he urged his hearers to ″encourage one another″ (4:18; 5:11, 14). His words echo those penned by the writer of the letter to the Hebrew believers, who were battered and discouraged: ″Encourage one another daily, as long as it is called 'Today'″ (Hebrews 3:13).

3 Joseph Bayly, The View from A Hearse (David C. Cook Publishing Co., 1973), 55-56.

Think through:

Is there someone you can encourage today? What would you do to encourage him or her?

Has anyone encouraged you this past week? How did they encourage you? Encourage them too by telling them about how they encouraged you, and how much you appreciate it.




About Author

Sim Kay Tee is a Bible teacher and writer of Our Daily Bread Ministries. Based in Singapore, K.T. writes for the Discovery Series Bible Study guides, the Journey Through Series devotional, and is a regular contributor to the Insights for Our Daily Bread. K.T. has taught the Bible in various countries. He has three daughters and one granddaughter.

Author of Journey Through Series:

Our Daily Bread Journey Through® Series is a publication of Our Daily Bread Ministries.

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