In Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians, he covers a lot of things. Things like death, what will happen when the Lord comes back, how Christians should live and serve. But one of the things I’ve always liked about Paul’s smaller letters is how we see a glimpse at what Paul was going through, what his life was like, what he was thinking.
Listen to what he describes in 1 Thessalonians 3: 6-8:
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?
Paul and those working with him have been through so much. We read a lot of it in Acts. There was persecution. There was abuse. There was pain and there was near-death experiences. Paul was beaten and left for dead, there were plots against him, people turned upon him, in short, it was a real challenge.
Today Paul says that one of the things that helped him get through these times of trial was the faith of the people. It gave him hope. It gave him encouragement. It gave him the strength to keep going.
We need each other. None of us are an island. We need the relationships, we need the support, we need the wisdom, we need all that our relationships can provide. We were not meant to walk alone.
Paul tells us today these relationships were one of the things that was able to keep him going when it got tough. The sustained and strengthened him. They helped make it possible.
That’s what we can do today. We have the power. We really can help each other. We really can enable each other. We really can sustain each other.
Be there for one another. Support. Encourage. Pray for.
These relationships matter. We need each other. May we live in that hope today!