Paul, Silas, and Timothy had planted the church in Thessalonica and it had stirred up the Jews there, as well as the Thessalonians. Paul had been concerned about the young church and wanted to know how they were doing. Because of the unrest there, Paul had sent Timothy to visit with them and Timothy brought back a good report. This was the reason Paul wrote this letter complimenting them and encouraging them to continue in their work. The people that Paul, Silas, and Timothy had witnessed to received the Gospel with joy and were eager to spread the Good News. Their missionary work was reaping quite a harvest as the church there carried on the work of spreading the Gospel in Macedonia and Southern Greece. Are we being faithful in spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ to others? Are we blooming where we are planted? Are we laboring in the fields that are white with harvest? Each one should disciple one. That is our part in keeping the Word going and God’s church growing.
2 These were his instructions to them: “The harvest is great, but the workers are few. So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields.–Luke 10:2 NLT
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
The trip from Judea to Galilee took Jesus through Samaria. It was a rough journey and Jesus, in His human form, was subject to becoming tired and weary, just as we are. The Samaritans and the Jews were not on the best of terms and rarely, if ever, spoke to each other. Yet, Jesus began to talk to this Samaritan woman and tell her things about her past and her present situation. She realized that He was a prophet and began to question Him about the difference in the traditions of how the Samaritans and the Jews worshiped God. Jesus began to explain these things to her and tells her that was the way things were but those things were changing. The Samaritan woman says that she knows things will change when the Messiah comes. It is then that Jesus reveals to her that He is the Messiah for whom she has been waiting. Jesus uses the words “I AM”. The same words that God had used when Moses asked God, “who shall I say is sending me?” Hearing these words, she immediately becomes a missionary and runs to tell the whole town about Jesus. When Jesus touches us, we have to tell somebody. Do we still have that burning desire to tell people about Jesus, the Messiah, the great “I AM” or has the fire gone out? If we no longer have that desire to tell others about Jesus, perhaps it is time to ask God to light the fires again.
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
Paul sets a great example for us to follow when we are witnessing to others. We should be doing this because our hearts’ desire is to show others the love that we have for them. We have this love for them because of the love Jesus has for us. No other motive is needed, not money, not fame, not popularity. Even while spending his life as a missionary, Paul worked as a tentmaker, so that his presence would not be a financial burden on those to whom he was speaking. He and his companions did their best to mirror the lifestyle of Jesus, their Lord and Savior. Because Jesus cared enough to die for us, Paul spent his life in caring for others, just like a Mother cares for her children. Not only was he concerned about their physical welfare, but he cared even more about their spiritual welfare. He didn’t just preach the Gospel message and leave them, he spent time in explaining the scriptures to them and living an obedient lifestyle while he was there with them. He encouraged, comforted and urged them to live lives worthy of God. In other words, he was “making disciples”, teaching them how to grow in the word and not leaving them as babies without food and no one to feed them. He exemplified God’s love even more by writing letters to them after he had left as well as sending some of his companions back to check on them at times. Jesus’ command was not to “love them and leave them” or to “save them and send them’, it was to make disciples.
19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” — Matt. 28:19, 20 NIV
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
Saul used to sit at the feet of Gamaliel learning about the Old Testament and the Jewish traditions and laws. He became very zealous in defending the Jewish customs even to the point of putting Christians to death. I think we can be very sure that in those times, he never considered the fact that Jesus was training him for a specific purpose. It probably never crossed his mind that he would be the missionary of the ages and the man responsible for writing most of the New Testament. The transition from Saul to Paul took over three years. Our salvation experience was probably not as dramatic as that of Paul. Nevertheless, it is just as necessary as that of Paul for the spread of the Gospel and the increase in the Kingdom of God. Let each of us look at our lives and experiences. What do those things tell us about what God has trained us to do to add to His Kingdom here on earth? We cannot come to the conclusion that we are trained to do God’s bidding, that would devalue the work of Jesus on the Cross and our value to God. Every person God has called to salvation has a part to play in the Kingdom here on earth. Ask God to show you what that part is and then, giddy-up go.
20 (Now in what I am writing to you, I assure you before God that I am not lying.) 21 Then I went into the regions of Syria and Cilicia. 22 I was still unknown by sight to the churches of Judea which were in Christ; 23 but only, they kept hearing, “He who once persecuted us is now preaching the faith which he once tried to destroy.” 24 And they were glorifying God because of me.—Gal. 1:20-24 (NASB)
Paul assures those to whom he is speaking then and us, with God as his witness, that what he is saying is true. He leaves Jerusalem and goes into the regions of Syria and Cilicia. He was very successful in his early ministry and the people rejoiced that God was being glorified because of the work of one who had been persecuting the Christians. Sometime after this, Barnabas found Paul and took him to Antioch to teach and convert the Greeks. Soon after this, Paul and Barnabas are sent out on their first missionary journey. We know that from this beginning, Paul became one of, if not the, greatest missionary in history.This is a great example to those who think that God won’t or can’t save them because they have been “too bad”. The blood of Jesus can make the vilest sinner clean. To those who think they have been “too bad” and also to those who think they have been “good enough”, we have to get the message out that everyone needs Jesus. He is the only way to heaven. Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.—John 14:6 (NASB)
15 We limit our boasting to the work that is ours. We don’t boast about the work other people have done. We hope that your faith will continue to grow. We hope that you will help our work to grow much larger. 16 We want to tell the Good News in the areas beyond your city. We don’t want to boast about work that has already been done in someone else’s area. 17 “Whoever boasts should boast only about the Lord.” 18 What people say about themselves means nothing. What counts is whether the Lord says they have done well.–2 Corinthians 10:15-18 (EtRV)
God has given each of us certain talents that we are to use for our livelihood. These talents are also to be used for Kingdom work here on earth. The workplace is our mission field that God has given to each of us. Our jobs may be temporary, short term or long term, but it is where God has planted us for now. Use your talents to to do the work well. Not everyone is called to be a pastor, missionary, music director, etc., but we are all called to be servants of one another to make the church stronger. Our job is to minister (serve) those that God puts in our path. Our vocational work may give us earthly rewards, but we are to lay up our rewards in heaven. We can do that by loving and serving others.