I miss my church… for me this is not part of my life but the church is my life. Its my calling as well as my job. Many have jobs in manufacturing, some in energy, and others in trades, but mine is in people. For the past 15 years I have been able to stand in front of a congregation of people, people that I have prayed for, people I have seen make it through struggles, people who have been ready to walk away and now have a renewed and greater faith…and we have seen sinners come to know Christ as their personal Savior... these very people are the ones who have prayed for me and my family on a daily basis. You see, over the years we have become part of each others life. We have been on each others mind. During this time of ‘shutdown’ we have wondered how those families are doing, maybe wondering how much their children have grown. I miss seeing the younger ones go by and hung Goo’s neck… I miss seeing teachers come in on Sunday morning ready and eager to open God’s Word… I miss standing in front of the choir and hearing them sing… I miss standing behind the pulpit and giving the people what the message God has given me… I miss standing at the door with Bro. Bradley and shaking hands while making small conversation… I miss hearing the funny stories that have happened in you life the past week. The simple little things - important things taking place in people lives we are missing out on. But I was encouraged this morning while reading.
In 1 Thessalonians chapter 1 Paul introduces himself in verse 1. Now Paul could've taken many verses to explain his life and circumstances yet 1 verse is all… then Paul quickly begins to get to the point of his letter - them.
Notice Paul in verse 2 tells us that he is giving thanks for them always and he also states he is in continual prayer (making mention of you in our prayers) for them. Paul lived being in and around the church but there were times he wasn't afforded the opportunity to be with the people face to face. Since Paul wasn't afforded the opportunity to be in their presence he did the only thing he knew to do - he prayed for them. You see, if you neglect a relationship it will grow weary and soon it will be a thing of the past but Paul loved these people too much just to forget them… he loved them and desired to be with them so he took time to think about them and pray for them.
Notice the scripture says that Paul was giving thanks for them… he was appreciative of those people. He knew how valuable they were to the ministry and to himself. The word ‘always’ simple means - forever or at all times. We know that the church at Thessalonica wasn't perfect and they had their faults but Paul doesn’t focus on the negative but is thankful for the investment they have made in his life.
Then in verse 3 Paul states that he ‘remembering without ceasing’ - this has the idea of no intermission. During a football game there is a break or halftime. A time when the action stops and the participants are allowed rest. But here Paul tells us there isn't a waking moment he isn't thinking of all they have accomplished for the Lord. We may never have the audience of others but one thing I know… there is a God in Heaven who has ask Tabernacle Baptist Church to undertake a monumental task of building a church and you, individually have by faith obeyed our Lord.
I thank God for each of you and your public exercise of faith. When others have questioned you… when some have scoffed at you… you have continued in you labor for the Lord.
Yes… I miss seeing you and I miss worshipping with you… we are not afforded that opportunity yet but I do pray for you and your family each day.
When we pray for each other we are nourishing our relationships… we are taking time to think about each others lives, cares, burdens, trials, hardships, struggles… we are taking time to enter into a battle with the power of prayer. When you take this time to pray for others you are investing into their life and the returns of that investment can not be tarnished… those returns are of eternal value.
Just my thoughts…