Verse: 1 Thessalonians 5:14
And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone.
In this section where Paul is closing his letter to the Thessalonians, he provides a lot of instructions to them about how they are to live. It feels like a checklist of things for them and for us today to see if we are living the Christian life. Consider these four instructions with me to see if we are doing them.
“Warn those who are idle and disruptive.” Honestly I don’t know if I have done this in a long time. But I remember being with groups of young people and seeing a few not working while others are. It does seem that idle and disruptive go together. As an adult, it is clear that being idle gives people time to get into trouble. So warning them about this is important if we are to represent the kingdom of God. Paul always worked to pay his way even as he traveled to preach the gospel (1 Thess 2:9).
“Encourage the disheartened, help the weak.” I put these two together since they come from the same heart posture of caring for others. Are we doing this? This is such an easy thing to do and is so beneficial to others. What gets in our way? Can we make room in our plans to help someone in need or are we always getting our to do list checked off? Do we allow ourselves to see the needs out there or are we so focused on our needs and wants that we don’t see the person that God has brought in front of us to minister to? Do we take time to remember those in need and provide them encouragement and help like we do to remember our work tasks? I have a ways to go on this.
“Be patient with everyone.” Ok, so this is the most challenging of them all. I feel like the Lord has been working on patience all my life. Life is so busy that it is hard to be patient, to wait on a traffic light, a phone call, a person. And yet, our Lord wants us to be patient with everyone!! I can be patient with some people but be patient with everyone?
Why does the Lord want us to do this for others? Probably because he is patient with us! Have you ever had someone take the time to really listen to you about something that you needed to talk about? It feels great! We are able to show God’s patience and love by being like Him. Our actions will draw people to Him.
So let’s spend a little time checking on how we are doing in these four areas: warning, encouraging, helping, and being patient. Ask the Lord which one He wants you to work on this week.
Lord, you know my strengths and my shortcomings. Help me to know what you want me to work on and then lead me and strengthen me in that area this week. Help me each day and each week to be more like you.
Author: Brad Dunn