Thursday, 20 July 2017
But now that Timothy has come to us from you, and brought us good news of your faith and love, and that you always have good remembrance of us, greatly desiring to see us, as we also to see you— 1 Thessalonians 3:6
Paul’s words of this verse are as if a spring of cool water has broken forth in the midst of a dry desert which he had been walking upon. There had almost been anxiety over the state of those at Thessalonica, and that troubled state had ended. This is first felt in the words, “But now that Timothy has come to us from you.” His words of the previous verses highlight the stress that was felt –
no longer endure it
shaken by these afflictions
no longer endure it (again)
lest by some means the tempter had tempted you
our labor might be in vain
Each of these built up a feeling which became determining factors in Paul’s sending Timothy to them to ascertain how they fared. Upon the return of Timothy came relief. He had “brought us the good news of your faith and love.” In this, “faith” is to be noted as a confidence in God, and in His gospel message concerning Jesus Christ, which gave them the ability to remain strong and fixed on the gospel, despite what had occurred with Paul, and despite his absence from them.
The “love” is certainly speaking of their love of Christ first and foremost. But it must also include their love of one another which was able to strengthen them in pursuit of Christ. And it must finally be referring to a love directed to Paul and his associates as well. This is evidenced by the next words, “and that you always have good remembrance of us.”
The report is from Timothy, and so he conveyed to them what he heard and saw. Therefore, “a good remembrance” goes deeper than just, “We sure miss Paul and the rest of you guys.” Although this is certainly the case, it must be inclusive of holding to the doctrine which Paul instructed them concerning Christ. Those precepts which had been given were being adhered to as if they were the instructions of God, because this is what they are. In being observant to what was communicated to them, they were demonstrating a good remembrance of them.
Finally Paul notes that those in Thessalonica were “greatly desiring to see us, as we also to see you.” There was no animosity in them because Paul and his associates had left and gone on with mission work elsewhere. They remembered the persecution, and they knew that his departure was not a shunning of them, but a reasonable choice to make. They were led to Christ through their ministry, and they had a strong bond of attachment to them, just as Paul and his associates did toward the church there in Thessalonica.
Life application: It can be very tough on a pastor to have those he ministers to suddenly turn on him over some minor point of disagreement. He spends his time counseling, preparing sermons, putting up with many issues of grief which arise, etc. And yet, when such a time of disagreement arises, congregants will often get up in a huff and go off to another church. If the pastor cares about his flock, he cares about losing them as well. He will carry the memory of those he served all his life, hopefully with good memories, not sad ones.
Lord God, give us the ability to show ourselves as humble and forgiving while dealing with others in our congregation. People are filled with error. As we are all people, then we are all filled with error. How easy it is to get in a huff and take off for other pastures, but how much better it is to resolve differences, to demonstrate grace, and to be attentive to those we fellowship with. Help us in this, Lord. Amen.