“We cared so much for you that we were pleased to share with you, not only the Gospel of God but our own lives because you had become so dear to us.” 1 Thessalonians 2:8
These verses have really challenged me lately. As a Christ-follower for decades and someone whose profession it is to “go and make disciples”, I can become easily focused on the end result of a relationship instead of the journey of life together along the way. Certainly, at the end of the day and life, sharing the gospel with others and praying that the Holy Spirit takes root in their heart to turn their life to Christ, is what we desire for all people God places in our lives. It is a good thing to have your family, friends and co-workers eternal destination on your mind and heart because we know that this life is fleeting and the best is yet to come for those who have trusted Christ as their savior.
However, for me at least and maybe this is true of you as well at some level, I forget to acknowledge that God designed us to share our lives with one another. If I am praying for that friend, family member or co-worker to receive Christ, it is possible that the very best way that they will experience the love of Christ is through our relationship.
As a man, I have a very compartmentalized brain. When I am at work, I am at work. When with family or settling a family issue, I am all there. When I take time for recreation and fun, I am able to breakaway and do it joyfully. When I spend time with the Lord reading his word and praying, I am focused on what he is communicating to me. I believe these are all good things and learning how focus attention to the task at hand is important, but lately I am realizing that I may be missing out on some of life’s greatest treasures in the process.
1 Thessalonians 2:8 reads “We cared so much for you that we were pleased to share with you, not only the Gospel of God but our own lives because you had become so dear to us.” This is a great challenge to me. Paul encourages us to share life with one another in addition to the gospel. Working to advance the gospel in work, family, and friendships is obviously a noble endeavor but there is more according to Paul. Vulnerability is hard but I believe at the core of what Paul is communicating here. Also at the core is our ability to live in close proximity to people. It is impossible to develop genuine “care” and for people to become “dear” to us if we keep them at arms length. Put simply another way, letting people into our lives and taking an interest in what they are interested in is the best way to live and the most effective way to inspire others toward deepening their walk with Christ.
My final encouragement this week is for each of us to get out from behind our desk, from behind our busy schedules, from behind our email, from behind our social media account, from behind our time with the Lord and ask Jesus to show us how to be more vulnerable and care deeper for the people God has uniquely placed in our lives.