Letters to the Thessalonians

This devotional is written by Matthew Windsor-Richards.  A dad, devoted to his boys (on a good day) and his wife (on all days!) and his job as an actor when anyone will employ him.

Thessalonians 2:17-20

Paul's Longing to See the Thessalonians

17 But, brothers and sisters, when we were orphaned by being separated from you for a short time (in person, not in thought), out of our intense longing we made every effort to see you. 18 For we wanted to come to you - certainly I, Paul, did, again and again - but Satan blocked our way. 19 For what is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when he comes? Is it not you? 20 Indeed, you are our glory and joy.

Reflection

  Paul established this church in modern day Greece less than 20 years after Jesus had ascended into Heaven. Written not long afterwards, these letters encourage them, declaring his love for them and admiring their resolve in standing up to persecution and to remain hopeful of the certain return of Jesus.
 
I am struck by three things in these few verses. I am reflecting on where I might demonstrate an intense longing to see someone that makes them feel amazing, as Paul does here. I am reminded that Satan is active in preventing me from doing anything that furthers the kingdom of God. And finally I am humbled with the passion that comes from dwelling on the hope and joy in the literal crown on the heads of those we help bring to Christ. It is monumental! Not only to that person, but to us! I remember being a teenager in Cornwall on a beach mission and helping someone in the crowd pray a prayer of repentance, accepting Jesus as their Saviour. The Life Course occasionally gives us that privilege too, but I so easily forget our primary purpose upon this earth after loving God and others, is to see people turn to Jesus in all our different spheres of life. Even when on that journey, standing strong in the armour of Christ (Ephesians 6), we are prevented from doing so.

My sphere is in the world of theatre, music and film and literally a few days ago my agent ruthlessly dropped me despite a successful year. I'm not suggesting Satan has orchestrated this but it definitely temporarily stops me in my tracks. However todays reading not only inspires me to dust myself off and continue defiantly, but that a temporary setback is not only about selfish me, but an attempt to derail the opportunities to share the hope and glory we have in Christ Jesus.

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