1 Thessalonians is one of the most interesting books in the Bible. This (along with 2 Thessalonians) were letters of Paul that were written to people who were waiting for the Lord to return, but He had not come back yet. What were they to do?
The very first generation of Christians truly expected the Lord to come back at any moment; some began to grow frustrated and impatient when He did not immediately return. These books deal with some practical life (and eternity) expectations of living daily for Jesus while waiting for His return. Listen to the advice Paul gives today in 1 Thessalonians 5: 12-15:
12 But we appeal to you, brothers and sisters, to respect those who labor among you, and have charge of you in the Lord and admonish you; 13 esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves. 14 And we urge you, beloved, to admonish the idlers, encourage the faint hearted, help the weak, be patient with all of them. 15 See that none of you repays evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to all.
I love Paul’s command here. Esteem (respect) those among you that work. Admonish the idlers, help the weak, encourage the faint, and be patient with ALL OF THEM.
Such good words. Because they were waiting for the Lord to return, everyone was just kind of sitting there, twiddling their thumbs. Paul says no! Work is good. Respect those that work. Respect them because of their work. Encourage everyone to do their part.
I think that’s such a great lesson for us to learn. I remember once in seminary one of my professors said that no job in human history has saved more lives than trash collectors. Because of these individuals removing our trash, our communities are cleaner and healthier. And yet how often do we stop and think about how much we owe them? Not often enough.
There are so many people, doing so many things, that we can take for granted and never realize how vital they are to the daily living of our lives.
Stop and thank someone today. Someone that we are tempted to pass by, not think about, stop and thank them for their labors and how they benefit each of us.
And then, may each of us do the task set before us with hard work, with excellence, with passion, with great care. We may not all be able to physically work today, but there is something that all of us can do, even if it’s just a word, to make the world a better place. That’s a holy task.
That’s holy work.
Be nice to each other. Be patient. Work hard. Work holy. Love.
If you’d like to be added to my devotional list, click here to sign up. You also can read these thoughts on St. Matthew’s new mobile app. Click here to download!