If the challenges and the social distancing of this last year have taught me one thing, it would be a realization of how easily I can take for granted the blessings and the people in my life. Even something as simple as a handshake, a smile, or a hug are things that have been halted in our daily experience (at least where I live in California). Being with people; connecting, encouraging, laughing, listening…just being physically present, these are things that are highly valuable.
In today’s verse we see the passion that the Apostle Paul had not only for sharing the good news of Jesus, but also for sharing his life (his heart) with the believers in Thessalonica. He has deep love and affection for these people; indeed they matter so much to him, that Paul does whatever it takes to help them know Jesus in a real and powerful way.
It’s a profound reality that God loves and values people so much that He moved heaven and earth to come and be with us. Jesus did whatever it took to make a way for us to know the Father. We matter that much to God. We see that people matter to God in the teachings of Jesus. He says that the second greatest commandment is to love your neighbor as yourself.
To paraphrase what I see in Scripture:
- Loving people unconditionally is the goal.
- Treating people as you’d want them to treat you is the rule.
- Dealing honestly, showing kindness, offering forgiveness and not taking yourself too seriously are the method.
- Being like Jesus is the motivation.
May you and I find creative and meaningful ways to share not only the gospel of God but our lives as well.