Wednesday, 5 July 2017
…as you know how we exhorted, and comforted, and charged every one of you, as a father does his own children, 1 Thessalonians 2:11
Paul is continuing the thought of the previous verse which started with, “You are witnesses, and God also…” From there, he has been explaining how his conduct, along with those with him, was when they arrived at Thessalonica. And so continuing, he says, “as you know how we exhorted, and comforted, and charged every one of you.”
Here the beginning word “as” is emphatic. It is an adverb which indicates “just as,” or “even so.” Further, he now goes from the plural address when speaking to the whole, to speaking to each individual by saying “every one of you.” Not a single person is passed over, and so each person individually could receive this letter as his own. Each one of them was instructed to remember how he was personally exhorted, comforted, and charged.
The church is a group of people, and so certain things are done collectively in it, but it is a group of individuals, and so there should be an attention given to each member as well. Paul not only did this when in person, but he is continuing that pattern in his letter to them. It is a beautiful touch from the Apostle’s heart. So much so that he tells them his care for each was given “as a father does his own children.”
He changes the metaphor here from the nursing mother of verse 7 to a caring father. Paul treated the church as a family, and he treated each person within the church as an individual family member who should be given special attention.
Again, he could not have written this to them unless it was true. If it were not so, they would have simply laughed at the letter and tossed it in the fire. But it was received, it was treasured, and it has been passed down to us as a reminder of the care given by Paul, and those with him, towards the church at Thessalonica.
Life application: Paul’s use of the family metaphors in this epistle should remind each of us that the church we attend is, in fact, like a family. As this is so, we should attempt to treat the other members of this family in that manner. Let us carry one another’s burdens, and let us treat them with respect and care.
Lord God, You have given us the church so that we can share in You with other people collectively. And the individual church that we attend is a group of people who should remember this, and tend to one another with respect and care. Help us not to be back-biters and troublemakers, but rather to act as brothers and sisters united in a common bond of love and caring. In this, surely You will be pleased. Amen.