Peter Misselbrook's Blog
Oct 15 2013 - 2 Thessalonians 3:1-18 – Faithfulness, love and perseverance

Paul asks the Christians at Thessalonica to pray for him and for his ministry. He wants the word of the Lord – the message of the Gospel – to run through the world and to touch the lives of many. He knows, however, that wherever the word is preached it also stirs up opposition; "not everyone has faith," says Paul (1 Thessalonians 3:2). "But," he immediately adds, "the Lord is faithful" (3:3). In a world where there are those who oppose the message of Christ and stir up difficultly for those who seek to make him known, the Lord himself is faithful. Jesus who said that all power in heaven and earth has been given to him promised also to be with his servants to the very end of the age. He is faithful to his word and will "strengthen and protect" those who belong to him.

Paul concludes this section with the words, "May the Lord direct your hearts into God's love and Christ's perseverance" (3:5). This is the path Christ calls his people to tread. We are called to live in the love of God: to rejoice in his great love for us; to reflect his love in our behaviour towards one another and towards those who do not yet know him. We are called to follow Christ: to remember all that he has done for us; he persevered, he went on to the end; for our sake he endured the cross with all its shame. We also are called to persevere; to go on following him to the end. The Lord's faithfulness is to be reflected in a life of faith, a life of faithfulness, a life of discipleship, empowered not only by his example but his living presence in us and with us.

The apostle Paul reminds the Christians at Thessalonica that he not only taught them how to live as disciples of Christ, he left them an example in the way that he lived among them (3:7-9). He calls upon them to follow his example of applying themselves to mundane things such as their daily work so that they might provide for themselves, their families and for others – in short, that they might be model citizens. Christ does not call us to abandon the normal duties of human life in order to pursue a spiritual and unworldly way of living; he calls us to live well in this world as models of the way Christ transforms every aspect of life with his presence and power. The way we work, the way we care for and provide for our families, the way we live as good citizens in our communities – these all are aspects of our Christian witness. These also are ways in which our hearts are to be directed into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance.

Each new day is an opportunity and challenge to live faithfully as a disciple of Christ in all that we say and do – to model the love of God and perseverance of Christ in the mundane issues of life.

Teach me, my God and King,
In all things thee to see,
And what I do in anything,
To do it as for thee:

A servant with this clause
Makes drudgery divine:
Who sweeps a room, as for thy laws,
Makes that and th’ action fine.

This is the famous stone
That turneth all to gold:
For that which God doth touch and own
Cannot for less be told.

Lord Jesus, fill me with your Spirit and enable me to follow closely in your footsteps. Fill me with your love and keep me strong by your faithful presence and perseverance with me. Enable me so to work for you, in little things as well as great, that on the day of your appearing I may receive the commendation, "Well done, good and faithful servant!"

Peter Misselbrook