2 We always thank God for all of you and continually mention you in our prayers. 3 We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.
Paul’s gratitude towards the believers in Thessalonica are based on three things: work, labor and endurance that comes from faith, love and hope.
As followers of Christ, our “work” is a product of our faith. We do not work to earn salvation; rather, our work is a response to God’s love in our lives, which then inspires us to act in faith. Faith-produced work can take many forms: service, prayer, giving, or investing in things that the world devalues. Faith is an expectation that God will do what we cannot, and yet He invites us to be involved.
Labor connotes prolonged, toilsome effort that can be, at times, monotonous. Love empowers us to conduct such labor because, without it, we are too weak. But when prompted by love, even the most laborious tasks are meaningful and worthwhile. If we love our jobs, we will endure the challenges involved. If we love our kids, we will do the little things like read them a bedtime story, go on a walk with them or wake up early in the morning to be with them instead of sleeping in. Parenting can be laborious, but we do it because of love. In the same way, our spiritual labor is prompted by our love for Christ (because He first loved us).
Endurance is strength over time. It is the ability to not give up in the face of tiredness, frustration and discouragement. We know what physical endurance entails, but we must also have to have spiritual endurance, which is “inspired by hope.” Hope is the belief that the future holds something that outweighs our present struggles. As Paul wrote in II Corinthians 4:16-17: “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, yet our inner self is being renewed day by day. For our light and temporary affliction is producing for us an eternal glory that far outweighs our troubles.”
Thoughts for the day
- What does this passage tell you about God or Jesus?
- What does this passage tell you about humanity?
- What do you feel God is telling you through this passage?
- How can you apply this message in an area of your life that needs transformation?
- Is there anyone you think should hear or will benefit from this message? Go and tell them.
“I thank you, Lord, for Your beautiful, multicultural, intergenerational family. Revive and sanctify us once again we pray. Forgive our many sins and make us holy. Set our hearts on fire again with the good news of Your gospel.”