“How can we thank God enough for you in return for all the joy that we feel before our God because of you? Night and day we pray most earnestly that we may see you face to face and restore whatever is lacking in your faith.” (1 Thessalonians 3:9-10, NRSV)
The Thessalonian Christians stuck out like a sore thumb.
They were not like anybody! In their world religion, business, and social position were all interconnected. Because they worshiped Jesus Christ, and not other gods, they were not considered a part of the “in” group. They were no longer accepted in society and were considered outcasts. They were rejected by most of society.
Expect for one man named Paul.
Paul, in his letter to this church, gives thanks for them. He gives thanks because the people have held on to their intergrity of faith by not giving in to the pressures of their world.
Gone were there friends, their connections, and for some even their families. All because they choose Jesus as their Savior and Lord.
The Thessalonian Christians knew that they were different because of their idenity in Christ. It was something they were not ashamed of. And they remained strong in their faith despite all the crazy things happening around them. This community faced its own set of challenges, but nothing could bring them down because of the cohesiveness they had together in Christ.
They knew Jesus and they supported each other.
Today, think about how you are in need of support from your Christian community. What loss have you experienced that might make faith hard? But, also, think about how you can be supportive to others who may be going through a hard time. What can you do this week to be supportive of others?
Dear God of Hope, be with us today as we search our hearts for ways in which we need support from our brothers and sisters in Christ. Help us to discern ways we can be supportive to others. In all things, remind us that we are reflections of you in all that we do. Amen.