1THESSALONIANS 3:6-13 (NIV – UK)
Timothy’s Encouraging Report
6 But Timothy has just now come to us from you, and has brought us the good news of your faith and love. He has told us also that you always remember us kindly and long to see us—just as we long to see you. 7 For this reason, brothers and sisters, during all our distress and persecution we have been encouraged about you through your faith.8 For we now live, if you continue to stand firm in the Lord. 9 How can we thank God enough for you in return for all the joy that we feel before our God because of you? 10 Night and day we pray most earnestly that we may see you face to face and restore whatever is lacking in your faith.
11 Now may our God and Father himself and our Lord Jesus direct our way to you. 12 And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, just as we abound in love for you. 13 And may he so strengthen your hearts in holiness that you may be blameless before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints.
WHAT BRINGS JOY?
Timothy has returned from Thessalonica and delivered news to Paul. The news has ‘encouraged’ Paul and has brought him ‘joy’. But what news has been brought that brings Paul joy? It wasn’t that Thessalonica Football Club are top of the league, nor is it that Thessalonica is prospering socially and financially. No, what Paul is interested in is the faith and love of the Thessalonians (v. 6).
What is the most important thing in life? Is it our football team? Is it being socially successful? Financially successful? Is it seeking to achieve the best we can achieve in life? All of these things may be good, but if we want to follow Jesus, he must be at the centre of our lives, and our relationship with him, our faith in him, is paramount. That is why Paul is joyful to hear their faith is strong – because he recognises that it is the most important thing.
What brings you the most joy when hearing news from a friend or relative? We might like to hear about their achievements, their goals and ambitions and these may bring joy. But what can bring more joy than hearing the news that our friend of relative are enjoying relationship with Jesus, walking with him, receiving from him, and having their life transformed as a result?
Question: What do you consider to be the most important aspect of life? Does it bring you joy to hear of others who are strong in the faith?