1 Thessalonians 3:1-13 (ESV)
Therefore when we could bear it no longer, we were willing to be left behind at Athens alone, and we sent Timothy, our brother and God’s coworker in the gospel of Christ, to establish and exhort you in your faith, that no one be moved by these afflictions. For you yourselves know that we are destined for this. For when we were with you, we kept telling you beforehand that we were to suffer affliction, just as it has come to pass, and just as you know. For this reason, when I could bear it no longer, I sent to learn about your faith, for fear that somehow the tempter had tempted you and our labor would be in vain. But now that Timothy has come to us from you, and has brought us the good news of your faith and love and reported that you always remember us kindly and long to see us, as we long to see you—for this reason, brothers, in all our distress and affliction we have been comforted about you through your faith. For now we live, if you are standing fast in the Lord. For what thanksgiving can we return to God for you, for all the joy that we feel for your sake before our God, as we pray most earnestly night and day that we may see you face to face and supply what is lacking in your faith? Now may our God and Father himself, and our Lord Jesus, direct our way to you, and may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, as we do for you, so that he may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints.
Paul tells the church in Thessalonica how concerned he was that they might have been tempted to leave the faith because of the trials that they, and he, were going through. So Paul sent Timothy to check on things and exhort the church to stay the course. Paul rejoices after Timothy returns and reports that the church is healthy.
What would Timothy say about our church today, if he came on the same mission? Is the church surviving this separation due to the COVID scare? Will our faith and wholeness as a church survive?
I think for the most part, yes we will. I believe that God is raising up the awareness that we must not live in fear. God is in control, and even though the virus is real, it does not have the morbidity that some believe. Regardless of the situation, we need to continue to love one another as Christ loved us. Especially as a church, we need to care for one another’s needs.
If you have not been to church recently, why not? If there is someone that you have not spoken to in a while, give them a call. Get back in touch with each other. Even if you don’t physically go to church, we need to reach out to one another and keep in touch, helping each other with anything that is needed.
This is my challenge for you today and this week. Contact someone in your church family, and ask how you may help them? Can you pray for their needs? Do they need some errands run? How can we be the Body of Christ, unless we band together and care for each other?
May God have mercy on us all, and protect us by His Armor. See Ephesians, Chapter 6, for the Armor of God.
by Virgil Stripes